Anti-Vaccine Groups Are Not Just Worried About Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Beth Hoffman, B.Sc., graduate studentUniversity of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public HealthResearch Assistant,University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health

Beth Hoffman

Beth Hoffman, B.Sc., graduate student
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
Research Assistant,
University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Vaccine refusal is a public health crisis – low vaccination rates are leading to outbreaks of deadly vaccine-preventable diseases. In 2017, Kids Plus Pediatrics, a Pittsburgh-based pediatric practice, posted a video on its Facebook pagef eaturing its practitioners encouraging HPV vaccination to prevent cancer. Nearly a month after the video posted, it caught the attention of multiple anti-vaccination groups and, in an eight-day period, garnered thousands of anti-vaccination comments.

Our team analyzed the profiles of a randomly selected sample of 197 commenters in the hopes that this crisis may be stemmed if we can better understand and communicate with vaccine-hesitant parents.

We determined that, although Kids Plus Pediatrics is an independent practice caring for patients in the Pittsburgh region, the commenters in the sample were spread across 36 states and eight countries.

By delving into the messages that each commenter had publicly posted in the previous two years, we also found that they clustered into four distinct subgroups:

  • “trust,” which emphasized suspicion of the scientific community and concerns about personal liberty;
  • “alternatives,” which focused on chemicals in vaccines and the use of homeopathic remedies instead of vaccination;
  • “safety,” which focused on perceived risks and concerns about vaccination being immoral; and
  • “conspiracy,” which suggested that the government and other entities hide information that this subgroup believes to be facts, including that the polio virus does not exist. 

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Third Dose of MMR Vaccine Reduced Risk of Mumps in University Students

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cristina V. Cardemil, M.D., M.P.H. Pediatrics, Primary Care, Public Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA 30333

Dr. Cardemil

Cristina V. Cardemil, M.D., M.P.H.
Pediatrics, Primary Care, Public Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA 30333 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The effect of a third dose of the measles–mumps–rubella (MMR) vaccine in stemming a mumps outbreak is unknown. During an outbreak among vaccinated students at the University of Iowa, health officials implemented a widespread MMR vaccine campaign. We evaluated the effectiveness of a third dose of MMR vaccine in preventing mumps cases during the outbreak, and assessed for waning immunity.

Of 20,496 university students enrolled in the 2015-16 academic year, 259 developed mumps. Prior to the outbreak, 98.1% of students had received two or more doses of MMR vaccine. During the outbreak, 4,783 students received a third dose.

The attack rate was lower among students who received a third dose of MMR vs. 2-dose recipients (6.7 vs. 14.5 per 1,000, respectively). Students had at least nine times greater risk of getting mumps if they received their second dose of MMR 13 years or more prior to the outbreak. Individuals who received a third MMR vaccine dose had a 78% lower risk for mumps than individuals who had received only two doses. This study demonstrates a lower risk of mumps in 3-dose MMR vaccine recipients, suggesting the MMR vaccine dose campaign prevented cases and may have helped stop the spread of the outbreak. Waning immunity likely contributed to the spread of the outbreak.

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