The Role of Media and the Internet on Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting: A Case Study of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination
ABSTRACT This study aimed to determine the temporal association of print media coverage and Internet search activity with adverse events reports associated with the human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil (HPV4) and the meningitis vaccine Menactra (MNQ) among United States adolescents.
We used moderated linear regression to test the relationships between print media reports in top circulating newspapers, Internet search activity, and reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) for HPV4 and MNQ during the first 2.5 years after Food and Drug Administration approval.
Compared with MNQ, HPV4 had more coverage in the print media and Internet search activity, which corresponded with the frequency of VAERS reports. In February 2007, we observed a spike in print media for HPV4. Although media coverage waned, Internet search activity remained stable and predicted the rise in HPV4-associated VAERS reports.
We demonstrate that media coverage and Internet search activity, in particular, may promote increased adverse event reporting. Public health officials who have long recognized the importance of proactive engagement with news media must now consider strategies for meaningful participation in Internet discussions.
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ABSTRACT: Romania has the highest cervical cancer burden in Europe. Despite the implementation of two human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programmes, the uptake remained extremely low and the programmes were discontinued. Given that media are a common source of information for the public and may influence vaccination decisions, this article sought to explore the content and quality of HPV vaccine media coverage in Romania. We conducted a content analysis of 271 media reports (from newspapers, magazines, videos and informational websites) published online between November 2007 and January 2012. Overall, results indicated that 31.4% of the materials were neutral, 28% were negative or extremely negative, 17% were mixed, while 23.6% were positive towards the vaccine. The most dominant vaccine-related concerns were side effects and insufficient testing. Elementary information about the vaccine and HPV was constantly left out and sometimes inaccuracies were found. Negatively disposed reports were more likely to contain incorrect data about vaccine efficacy and less likely to provide comprehensive information about the vaccine and HPV-related diseases. Some dimensions of media coverage varied across time and media outlets. The present findings suggest that educational interventions are greatly needed as a response to suboptimal and incomplete media coverage of HPV vaccination.