Differences in exposure to negative news media are associated with lower levels of HPV vaccine coverage
May 1, 2017 § 1 Comment
Over the weekend, our new article in Vaccine was published. It describes how we found links between human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine coverage in the United States and information exposure measures derived from Twitter data.
Our research demonstrates—for the first time—that states disproportionately exposed to more negative news media have lower levels of HPV vaccine coverage. What we are talking about here is the informational equivalent of: you are what you eat.
There are two nuanced things that I think make the results especially compelling. First, they show that Twitter data does a better job of explaining differences in coverage than socioeconomic indicators related to how easy it is to access HPV vaccines. Second, that the correlations are strongest for initiation (getting your first dose) than for completion (getting your third dose). If we go ahead and assume that information exposure captures something about acceptance, and that socioeconomic differences (insurance, education, poverty, etc.) signal differences…
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I thought I’d share this wonderful piece of computational epidemiology work that was led by my colleague Adam Dunn, and in which I had the pleasure to participate. It is a fantastic demonstration of the very powerful ways even apparently ‘noisy’ non-clinical data can inform public health policy, and indeed be used for near-real time population health surveillance.