Browsed by
Tag: Facebook

Insights About HPV Vaccination in the United States from Mothers on Facebook

Insights About HPV Vaccination in the United States from Mothers on Facebook

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common sexually transmitted infection is the human papillomavirus (HPV) but only about half of girls and less than 40% of boys in the United States have received all the recommended doses of the HPV vaccine (1). In a recent e-publication in Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics, Klein Buendel Senior Scientists, Dr. David Buller and Barbara Walkosz, and Project Manager, Julia Berteletti, and coauthors provide insights on HPV vaccination in the United States from mothers’ comments on Facebook posts in a randomized trial. The study evaluated responses from mothers of teenage girls living in various U.S. states in relation to HPV vaccine health and related information posted to private groups on Facebook.

A large number of mothers of 14-17-year-old girls joined private groups on Facebook where a variety of health information relevant to adolescent girls was posted daily. Topics included indoor tanning, mother-daughter communication, and HPV vaccinations. Posts discussing HPV vaccination were posted in each of the groups and ranged from didactic messages (e.g., the need for adolescent vaccines, how well HPV vaccines are working to decrease infection rate, number of parents choosing to vaccinate children against HPV, etc.) to narrative posts about women who have died from cervical cancer. Posts also included a link to an article, video, photograph, or an infographic.

Comments by participants were generally more favorable toward HPV vaccination than unfavorable. Mothers’ comments are further described in the journal article.

A strength of the analyses identifying participant pre-existing characteristics before posting the HPV messages on Facebook, therefore being able to show that HPV vaccination was a predictor of commenting behavior with mothers who had not vaccinated their daughters as the unfavorable commenters. It is noted that many of the mothers who did not comment had daughters that were vaccinated for HPV. A possible weakness of the study was that the sample of mothers may have limited generalizability. Authors conclude by stating that the fact that many mothers who had daughters vaccinated against HPV did not comment on the HPV posts could contribute to the idea that opposition to the HPV vaccine is larger than it is in actuality. Authors also suggest that U.S. public health agencies and practitioners need to find ways to dispel myths and provide information on vaccine safety and concerns, including that many mothers choose to vaccinate their daughters against HPV.

This research was funded by a grant to Klein Buendel from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator). Additional authors include Dr. Sherry Pagoto and Jessica Bibeau from University of Connecticut, Dr. Katie Baker and Dr. Joel Hillhouse from East Tennessee State University, and Dr. Kimberly Henry from Colorado state University.

References

  1. Sexually transmitted disease surveillance 2017: other STDs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/other.htm#hpv. Accessed March 28, 2019.
INSIGHTS ON HPV VACCINATION FROM MOTHERS’ COMMENTS ON FACEBOOK POSTS IN A RANDOMIZED TRIAL

INSIGHTS ON HPV VACCINATION FROM MOTHERS’ COMMENTS ON FACEBOOK POSTS IN A RANDOMIZED TRIAL

HPV vaccine uptake among adolescent girls in the United States remains below the national goal of 80%. Parent decisions to vaccinate daughters can be impeded by confusion, uncertainty, and misinformation about the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel (KB) presented an analysis of mothers’ beliefs about vaccinating their adolescent daughters for HPV at the Eurogin International Multidisciplinary HPV Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, December 2-5, 2018.

Mothers with adolescent daughters from 34 states (n=880) were recruited to participate in a randomized controlled trial evaluating a social media campaign on adolescent health. The mothers’ beliefs were expressed in comments to posts on HPV vaccination in a social media campaign on adolescent health. Participants were recruited through Qualtrics survey panels or local efforts at the Tennessee study site. Eligibility criteria were: having a daughter aged 14-17, living in one of 34 states without a complete ban on indoor tanning for minors, using a Facebook account 1+ times a week, being able to read English, consenting to participate, completing the baseline survey, and willing to join the Facebook group. The campaign, implemented through Facebook private groups, included posts on HPV vaccination, as one of seven general health topics. The experimental manipulation varied posts on indoor tanning versus prescription drug abuse prevention. Posts on HPV vaccination and reactions and comments from mothers were extracted.

Mothers had a mean age of 43.1 years; 6.5% were Hispanic and 86.6% white; and 63.1% reported that their daughter had been vaccinated for HPV (17.8% receiving two shots and 31.5% three shots). HPV vaccination posts received on average 1.3 reactions and 3.3 comments from mothers. Comments often formed a dialogue among mothers. More than half of the comments (52.8%) were favorable, indicating that the daughter had been vaccinated and HPV vaccination reduced mothers’ anxiety, HPV infection rates, and related disease risk. However, 45.3% were unfavorable, citing safety concerns, lack of efficacy, unknown long-term consequences, inappropriate age for the vaccine, apprehension by other mothers, fears of vaccine tampering, lack of physician support, and sexual activity issues (for example, plans to wait until daughter becomes sexually active or using vaccine to guard against unprotected sex). Some commented, mostly favorably, on the need to vaccinate boys.

Facebook comments indicated both support for and resistance to HPV vaccination by mothers in the United States. Reasons for not vaccinating girls were similar to barriers expressed in other research and reflected negative media coverage of HPV vaccination. Effective strategies are needed in social media to counter misinformation on and resistance to HPV vaccines.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator). Collaborators include Dr.Barbara Walkosz and Julia Berteletti from KB; Dr. Sherry Pagoto and Jessica Oleski from the University of Connecticut, and Dr. Katie Baker from East Tennessee State University.

Eurogin is one of the most important conferences in the world on HPV infection and related cancers. The international gathering examines public health, health services, screening, and prevention of HPV-induced cancers.