Tag Archives: Vaccine misinformation and social media

Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania study: Vaccine misinformation and social media

22 Feb

Michaeleen Doucleff reported in the NPR story, How Vaccine Fears Fueled The Resurgence Of Preventable Diseases:

For most of us, measles and whooping cough are diseases of the past. You get a few shots as a kid and then hardly think about them again.
But that’s not the case in all parts of the world — not even parts of the U.S.
As an interactive map http://www.cfr.org/interactives/GH_Vaccine_Map/index.html#map from the Council on Foreign Relations illustrates, several diseases that are easily prevented with vaccines have made a comeback in the past few years. Their resurgence coincides with changes in perceptions about vaccine safety.
Since 2008 folks at the think tank CFR have been plotting all the cases of measles, mumps, rubella, polio and whooping cough around the world. Each circle on the map represents a local outbreak of a particular disease, while the size of the circle indicates the number of people infected in the outbreak.
As you flip through the various maps over the years, two trends clearly emerge: Measles has surged back in Europe, while whooping cough is has become a problem here in the U.S.
Childhood immunization rates plummeted in parts of Europe and the U.K. after a 1998 study falsely claimed that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella was linked to autism.
That study has since been found to be fraudulent. But fears about vaccine safety have stuck around in Europe and here in the U.S.
Viruses and bacteria have taken full advantage of the immunization gaps.
In 2011, France reported a massive measles outbreak with nearly 15,000 cases. Only the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Somalia suffered larger measles outbreaks that year.
In 2012, the U.K. reported more than 2,000 measles cases, the largest number since 1994.
Here in the U.S., the prevalence of whooping cough shot up in 2012 to nearly 50,000 cases. Last year cases declined to about 24,000 — which is still more than tenfold the number reported back in the early ’80s when the bacteria infected less than 2,000 people.
So what about countries in Africa? Why are there so many big, colorful circles dotting the continent? For many parents there, the problem is getting access to vaccines, not fears of it.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/01/25/265750719/how-vaccine-fears-fueled-the-resurgence-of-preventable-diseases?utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=20140202&utm_source=mostemailed

There are many myths regarding vaccination of children.

Dina Fine Maron wrote in the Daily Beast article, 6 Top Vaccine Myths:

To sort through the onslaught of information and misinformation about childhood immunizations, we asked Austin, Texas-based pediatrician Ari Brown, coauthor of “Baby 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for your Baby’s First Year,” to debunk some of the most common vaccination myths.
Myth 1: It’s not necessary to vaccinate kids against diseases that have been largely eradicated in the United States.
Reality: Although some diseases like polio and diphtheria aren’t often seen in America (in large part because of the success of the vaccination efforts), they can be quite common in other parts of the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that travelers can unknowingly bring these diseases into the United States, and if we were not protected by vaccinations, these diseases could quickly spread throughout the population. At the same time, the relatively few cases currently in the U.S. could very quickly become tens or hundreds of thousands of cases without the protection we get from vaccines. Brown warns that these diseases haven’t disappeared, “they are merely smoldering under the surface.”
Most parents do follow government recommendations: U.S. national immunization rates are high, ranging from 85 percent to 93 percent, depending on the vaccine, according to the CDC. But according to a 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the 20 states that allow personal-belief opt outs in addition to religious exemptions saw exemptions grow by 61 percent, to 2.54 percent between 1991 and 2004.
Brown is concerned that parents who opt out or stagger the vaccine schedule can end up having to deal with confusing follow-up care, which could produce an increase in disease outbreaks like last summer’s measles epidemic. A 2008 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that when there are more exemptions, children are at an increased risk of contracting and transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases.
For more on the pros and cons of staggering or skipping vaccinations, visit MSN’s guide or read this U.S. News and World Report piece. For information on vaccine safety, check out the CDC’s information page. To search for your state’s vaccine requirements, see the National Network for Immunization Information.
Myth 2: Mercury is still in kids’ vaccines.
Reality: At the center of this issue is a preservative called thimerosal (a compound containing mercury) that once was a common component in many vaccines because it allowed manufacturers to make drugs more cheaply and in multidose formulations. But public concern, new innovations and FDA recommendations led to its removal from almost all children’s vaccines manufactured after 2001. (More thimerosal background can be found at the FDA’s Web site) Since flu vaccines are not just for children, manufacturers still put thimerosal in some flu-shot formulations. You can ask your pediatrician for the thimerosal-free version, says Brown.
If your child does not have asthma and is at least 2 years old, Brown recommends the FluMist nasal-spray vaccination over the flu shot. “It seems to have better immune protection and it could help your child avoid another shot,” she says. (Caveat: the spray does contain a live version of the virus, which can result in a slight increase in flulike symptoms).
Myth 3: Childhood vaccines cause autism.
Reality: There is no scientific evidence that this link exists. Groups of experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), agree that vaccines are not responsible for the growing number of children now recognized to have autism.
Earlier this month, the law supported scientists’ conclusions in this arena with three rulings from a section of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which stated that vaccines were not the likely cause of autism in three unrelated children. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in an online statement following the ruling, “The medical and scientific communities have carefully and thoroughly reviewed the evidence concerning the vaccine-autism theory and have found no association between vaccines and autism.” Noting the volume of scientific evidence disproving this link, an executive member of one of the nation’s foremost autism advocacy groups, Autism Speaks, recently stepped down from her position because she disagrees with the group’s continued position that there is a connection between the vaccines and autism.
Get Newsweek on your Tablet
Myth 4: Getting too many vaccines can overwhelm the immune system and cause adverse reactions or even serious illness.
Reality: Children’s immune systems are capable of combating far more antigens (weak or killed viruses) than they encounter via immunizations. In fact, the jury is still out on if there’s an actual limit on how many the body can handle—though one study puts the number around a theoretical 10,000 vaccines in one day.(Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics’ site or the Network for Immunization Information for more information)
Currently, “There is even less of a burden on the immune system [via vaccines] today than 40 years ago,” says Edgar Marcuse, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington who works on immunization policy and vaccines. He points to the whooping-cough vaccine as an example where there are far fewer antigens in the shot than the earlier version administered decades ago. Brown says she supports following the recommended schedule for vaccinations, which outlines getting as many as five shots in one day at a couple check-ups. (The CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule can be found here.) “I have kids, and I wouldn’t recommend doing anything for my patients that I wouldn’t do for my own kids,” she says.
The CDC reports that most vaccine adverse events are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever and “so few deaths can plausibly be attributed to vaccines that it is hard to assess the risk statistically.” Of all deaths reported to the Health and Human Services’ Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting site between 1990 and 1992, only one is believed to be even possibly associated with a vaccine. The Vaccine Safety Datalink Project, an initiative of the CDC and eight health-care organizations, looks for patterns in these reports and determines if a vaccine is causing a side effect or if symptoms are largely coincidental.
If you have concerns about following the recommended vaccination, schedule don’t wait until a check-up. Set up a consultation appointment with your pediatrician, or even outline a strategy for care with your doctor during your pregnancy.
Myth 5: It’s better to let my kid get chickenpox “naturally.”
Reality: Before the chickenpox vaccine was licensed in 1995, parents sometimes brought their child to a party or playground hoping that their child might brush up against a pox-laden kid to get their dose of chickenpox over since cases were usually less severe for children than adults. But pediatricians say severe complications are possible with chickenpox—including bacterial infections that could result in a child’s hospitalization or death. (More information on the chickenpox vaccine is available at the CDC’s Web site.)
Now that there’s a vaccine for chickenpox, more than 45 states require the shots (unless your child already had the chicken pox or can prove natural immunity). Two shots usually guarantees your child a way out of being bedecked in calamine lotion for two feverish weeks, but some individuals do still come down with a milder form of the pox. Most pediatricians recommend getting the shot.
Myth 6: The flu shot causes the flu.
Reality: The flu shot does not contain a live virus, so your child can’t get the flu from this shot. But, after the shot, it’s not uncommon to feel a bit achy while the immune system mounts its response. Remember that for two weeks following the shot, your child can still get the flu, so be sure to help your child avoid that feverish kid next door. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/02/22/six-top-vaccine-myths.html

A question in the current climate is what can be done to make parents responsible for putting other children at risk.

See, https://drwilda.com/tag/vaccines/ and https://drwilda.com/tag/vaccination/

Science Daily reported in Vaccine misinformation and social media: People exposed to vaccine content on social media more likely misinformed than those exposed to it on traditional media:

People who rely on social media for information were more likely to be misinformed about vaccines than those who rely on traditional media, according to a study of vaccine knowledge and media use by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
The study, based on nationally representative surveys of nearly 2,500 U.S. adults, found that up to 20% of respondents were at least somewhat misinformed about vaccines. Such a high level of misinformation is “worrying” because misinformation undermines vaccination rates, and high vaccination rates are required to maintain community immunity, the researchers said.
The study, published in the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, was conducted in the spring and fall of 2019, when the United States experienced its largest measles outbreak in a quarter century. Between the two survey periods, 19% of the respondents’ levels of vaccine misinformation changed in a substantive way — and within that group, almost two-thirds (64%) were more misinformed in the fall than in the spring.
Media consumption patterns helped to explain the change in misinformation levels, the researchers found. Those respondents who reported increased exposure to information about measles and the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine on social media were more likely to grow more misinformed about vaccines. By contrast, those people who reported an increased exposure to news accounts about those topics in traditional media were more likely to grow less misinformed about vaccines.
“People who received their information from traditional media were less likely to endorse anti-common vaccination claims,” said lead author Dominik Stecula, a postdoctoral fellow in the science of science communication program at the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC). He co-authored the study with Ozan Kuru, another APPC postdoctoral fellow, and APPC Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson.
The result is consistent with research suggesting that social media contain a fair amount of misinformation about vaccination while traditional media are more likely to reflect the scientific consensus on its benefits and safety, according to the Annenberg researchers.
‘Worrying’ levels of vaccine misinformation
The researchers found that:
• 18% of respondents mistakenly say that it is very or somewhat accurate to state that vaccines cause autism;
• 15% mistakenly agree that it is very or somewhat accurate to state that vaccines are full of toxins;
• 20% wrongly report that it is very or somewhat accurate to state that it makes no difference whether parents choose to delay or spread out vaccines instead of relying on the official vaccine schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
• and 19% incorrectly say it is very or somewhat accurate to state that it is better to develop immunity by getting the disease than by vaccination.
Medical experts and media consumption
The researchers also found that an individual’s level of trust in medical experts affects the likelihood that a person’s beliefs about vaccination will change. Low levels of trust in medical experts coincide with believing vaccine misinformation, the researchers said.
In addition, the research found that vaccine misinformation proved resilient over time. Most of those in the sample (81%) were just as informed or misinformed in the spring (February/March) as they were months later, in the fall (September/October), despite the extensive news coverage of the measles outbreak and attempts by the CDC to educate the public. Among the 19% whose level of knowledge changed substantially, 64% were more misinformed and 36% were better informed.
The researchers point out that although the findings only show correlations between media coverage and individual attitudes — not causation — these findings still hold implications for the effectiveness of national pro-vaccination campaigns, the role of health professionals in addressing misinformation, and the impact of social media misinformation.
The findings, Kuru noted, come as a number of states have been debating whether to tighten their laws surrounding vaccination exemptions and social media companies have been wrestling with how to respond to different forms of misinformation…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200217163004.htm

Citation:

Vaccine misinformation and social media
People exposed to vaccine content on social media more likely misinformed than those exposed to it on traditional media
Date: February 17, 2020
Source: Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Summary:
People who rely on social media for information were more likely to be misinformed about vaccines than those who rely on traditional media, according to a new study. The study, based on surveys of nearly 2,500 US adults, found that up to 20% of respondents were at least somewhat misinformed about vaccines.

Journal Reference:
Dominik Andrzej Stecula, Ozan Kuru, Kathleen Hall Jamieson. How Trust in Experts and Media Use Affect Acceptance of Common Anti-Vaccination Claims. Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, 2020; DOI: 10.37016/mr-2020-007

Here is the press release from the University of Pennsylvania:

NEWS RELEASE 17-FEB-2020
Vaccine misinformation and social media
People exposed to vaccine content on social media more likely misinformed than those exposed to it on traditional media
ANNENBERG PUBLIC POLICY CENTER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SHARE
PRINT E-MAIL
People who rely on social media for information were more likely to be misinformed about vaccines than those who rely on traditional media, according to a study of vaccine knowledge and media use by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
The study, based on nationally representative surveys of nearly 2,500 U.S. adults, found that up to 20% of respondents were at least somewhat misinformed about vaccines. Such a high level of misinformation is “worrying” because misinformation undermines vaccination rates, and high vaccination rates are required to maintain community immunity, the researchers said.
The study, published in the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, was conducted in the spring and fall of 2019, when the United States experienced its largest measles outbreak in a quarter century. Between the two survey periods, 19% of the respondents’ levels of vaccine misinformation changed in a substantive way – and within that group, almost two-thirds (64%) were more misinformed in the fall than in the spring.
Media consumption patterns helped to explain the change in misinformation levels, the researchers found. Those respondents who reported increased exposure to information about measles and the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine on social media were more likely to grow more misinformed about vaccines. By contrast, those people who reported an increased exposure to news accounts about those topics in traditional media were more likely to grow less misinformed about vaccines.
“People who received their information from traditional media were less likely to endorse common anti-vaccination claims,” said lead author Dominik Stecula, a postdoctoral fellow in the science of science communication program at the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC). He co-authored the study with Ozan Kuru, another APPC postdoctoral fellow, and APPC Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson.
The result is consistent with research suggesting that social media contain a fair amount of misinformation about vaccination while traditional media are more likely to reflect the scientific consensus on its benefits and safety, according to the Annenberg researchers.
‘Worrying’ levels of vaccine misinformation
The researchers found that:
• 18% of respondents mistakenly say that it is very or somewhat accurate to state that vaccines cause autism;
• 15% mistakenly agree that it is very or somewhat accurate to state that vaccines are full of toxins;
• 20% wrongly report that it is very or somewhat accurate to state that it makes no difference whether parents choose to delay or spread out vaccines instead of relying on the official vaccine schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
• and 19% incorrectly say it is very or somewhat accurate to state that it is better to develop immunity by getting the disease than by vaccination.
Medical experts and media consumption
The researchers also found that an individual’s level of trust in medical experts affects the likelihood that a person’s beliefs about vaccination will change. Low levels of trust in medical experts coincide with believing vaccine misinformation, the researchers said.
In addition, the research found that vaccine misinformation proved resilient over time. Most of those in the sample (81%) were just as informed or misinformed in the spring (February/March) as they were months later, in the fall (September/October), despite the extensive news coverage of the measles outbreak and attempts by the CDC to educate the public. Among the 19% whose level of knowledge changed substantially, 64% were more misinformed and 36% were better informed.
The researchers point out that although the findings only show correlations between media coverage and individual attitudes – not causation – these findings still hold implications for the effectiveness of national pro-vaccination campaigns, the role of health professionals in addressing misinformation, and the impact of social media misinformation.
The findings, Kuru noted, come as a number of states have been debating whether to tighten their laws surrounding vaccination exemptions and social media companies have been wrestling with how to respond to different forms of misinformation.
The researchers said this study suggests that “increasing the sheer amount of pro-vaccination content in media of all types may be of value over the longer term.” They said the findings also underscore the importance of decisions by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest to reduce or block access to anti-vaccine misinformation.
###
“How Trust in Experts and Media Use Affect Acceptance of Common Anti-Vaccination Claims,” was published in the inaugural issue of the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review in January 2020.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center was established in 1993 to educate the public and policy makers about communication’s role in advancing public understanding of political, health, and science issues at the local, state and federal levels.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

It is just a matter of time before there will be lawsuits regarding whether a parent owed a duty to the public to vaccinate their child.

Here is information from the 6 Top Vaccine Myths regarding vaccination schedules:
For Health Care Professionals
Birth-18 Years and Catch-up
• View combined schedules (birth-18 years and catch-up)
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/su6201a2.htm
• Print combined schedules (including intro, summary of changes, references…) [355 KB, 7 pages]

Click to access mmwr-0-18yrs-catchup-schedule.pdf


• Print combined schedules in color (chart in landscape format) [202 KB, 5 pages] also in black & white [348 KB, 5 pages]

Click to access mmwr-0-18yrs-catchup-schedule.pdf


• Print full MMWR supplement (birth-18 years, catch-up, adult, adult medical and other indications, adult contraindications and precautions) [1MB, 21 pages]

Click to access mm62e0128.pdf


• Order free copies from CDC
http://wwwn.cdc.gov/pubs/ncird.aspx#schedules

For Everyone
Easy-to-read Schedules for All Ages
Easy-to-read formats to print, tools to download, and ways to prepare for your office visit.
• Infants and Children (birth through 6 years old)Find easy-to-read formats to print, create an instant schedule for your child, determine missed or skipped vaccines, and prepare for your office visit…
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html
• Preteens & Teens (7 through 18 years old)Print this friendly schedule, take a quick quiz, fill out the screening form before your child’s doctor visit, or download a tool to determine vaccines needed…
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/preteen-teen.html
• Adults (19 years and older)Print the easy-to-read adult schedule, take the quiz, or download a tool to
• determine vaccines needed…
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/adult.html
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/

Here is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding vaccination.
http://www2.aap.org/immunization/ Parents must consult their doctors about vaccinations.

Related:

3rd World America: Tropical diseases in poor neighborhoods
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/20/3rd-world-america-tropical-diseases-in-poor-neighborhoods/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/