Jump to main content

How Can Vaccines Be Used to Fight Outbreaks?

75 reviews


Areas of Science
Time Required
Short (2-5 days)
Sandra Slutz, PhD, Science Buddies
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.


Stopping a viral outbreak like COVID-19 takes more than luck, it takes public health tools. Vaccines are considered to be one of the best public health tools, which is why there is often a rush to develop good vaccines for newly discovered viruses, particularly those that have the potential to infect lots of people. Recent examples include COVID-19, Zika virus, and Ebola. If enough people are vaccinated, an effective vaccine can help stop outbreaks or even eradicate (completely get rid of) a viral disease. But how many people are "enough," and what determines if a vaccine is "effective"? Using SimPandemic, a free online tool for modeling infectious outbreaks, you can examine these and related questions.

Start by working your way through the Using Vaccines to Fight Outbreaks notebook at SimPandemic. By the time you come to the Sandbox section and start running your own simulations of outbreaks, you will see that there are many questions you can model and investigate. For example:

These are just a small sampling of the vaccine-related questions you can explore using SimPandemic. Give the tool a try and see what you can discover about how vaccines can be used to fight outbreaks.

icon scientific method

Ask an Expert

Do you have specific questions about your science project? Our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.

Global Connections

The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
This project explores topics key to Good Health and Well-Being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.


If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

Career Profile
Do you like a good mystery? Well, an epidemiologist's job is all about solving mysteries—medical mysteries—but instead of figuring out "who done it" like a police detective would, they figure out "what caused it." They find relationships between a medical condition and things like human behavior, environmental toxins, genes, medical treatments, other diseases, and geographical location. For example, they ask questions like what causes multiple sclerosis? How can we prevent brain… Read more
Career Profile
Microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, algae, and fungi) are the most common life-forms on Earth. They help us digest nutrients; make foods like yogurt, bread, and olives; and create antibiotics. Some microbes also cause diseases. Microbiologists study the growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of microorganisms to promote health, industry, and a basic understanding of cellular functions. Read more
Career Profile
Growing, aging, digesting—all of these are examples of chemical processes performed by living organisms. Biochemists study how these types of chemical actions happen in cells and tissues, and monitor what effects new substances, like food additives and medicines, have on living organisms. Read more

News Feed on This Topic

, ,

Cite This Page

General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Slutz, Sandra. "How Can Vaccines Be Used to Fight Outbreaks?" Science Buddies, 22 Oct. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/HumBio_p049/human-biology-health/vaccines-fight-outbreaks-simpandemic. Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

APA Style

Slutz, S. (2020, October 22). How Can Vaccines Be Used to Fight Outbreaks? Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/HumBio_p049/human-biology-health/vaccines-fight-outbreaks-simpandemic

Last edit date: 2020-10-22
Free science fair projects.