Monday, August 24, 2015 — Vaccines will remain a heated source of controversy this national Immunization Awareness Month as kids head back to school, according to a data analysis released today by consumer healthcare insights company Treato. A survey of more than 650 Treato.com users revealed that 87 percent of participants felt that parents who decide not to vaccinate their kids should be penalized in some way. Specifically, more than 50 percent of survey participants felt that kids who haven’t been vaccinated shouldn’t be allowed to attend schools and 23 percent felt that the family’s insurance rates should be increased. Of these survey participants who felt penalties should be implemented for those who chose not to vaccinate their children, 95 percent had children themselves. Of the 13 percent of survey participants who felt that it is of little importance to follow vaccination guidelines, only 37 percent of these consumers had children themselves, a statistic reflecting that consumers’ opinions were influenced by whether they were parents.
In addition to the survey, Treato compiled and analyzed more than 613,000 online conversations happening about 15 CDC recommended vaccinations. The top five vaccinations being discussed online are: influenza; measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); human papillomavirus (HPV); polio and zoster (shingles). Influenza is the most frequently discussed vaccine, which is being discussed 2.5 times more often than MMR, the second most frequently discussed vaccination online.
Despite a complete lack of scientific evidence regarding a link between vaccines and autism, this is the number one topic being discussed among consumers in online discussions about rejecting vaccinations. MMR was the most frequently mentioned vaccination when discussing autism. In the past five years, online conversations about anti-vaxxers and MMR have increased by more than 2,300 percent, with more than 50 percent of discussions mentioning autism. Celebrities have a large influence on online conversations happening about vaccinations, as 80 percent of online discussions about activist Jenny McCarthy and MMR mentioned autism.
Additional Treato findings include:
- In the last five years online conversations about tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) have increased six fold
- Online discussions about zoster (shingles) have increased more than three times in past five years, with 74 percent of conversations by patients 50+
- When consumers are discussing Asperger’s Syndrome it is mentioned with MMR, the second most mentioned vaccination, 17 times more frequently than influenza, the most mentioned vaccination
- 59 percent of online discussions that mention the influenza vaccine are regarding children under 18 years old
“Analyzing online conversations to gauge the public's attitudes and behaviors towards government recommendations for vaccinations is a key resource for health officials,” says Ido Hadari, CEO of Treato. “Now that the information being used by state health departments is available to consumers, they can better understand what's driving the anti-vaccination movement and make informed choices for their families."
Find more information on Treato’s vaccination analysis here.