Volume 35, Issue 35, Part B, Pages 4491-4658 (16 August 2017)
The web and public confidence in MMR vaccination in Italy
Francesco Aquino, Gabriele Donzelli, Emanuela De Franco, Gaetano Privitera, Pier Luigi Lopalco, Annalaura Carducci
Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage in Italy has been decreasing starting from 2012 and, at the present, none of the Italian regions has achieved the goal of 95% coverage target. A decision of the Court of Justice of Rimini in March 2012 that awarded vaccine-injury compensation for a case of autism has been indicated as a probable trigger event leading to a reduction of vaccine confidence in Italy. The aim of the study was to explore the relationship between MMR vaccination coverage to online search trends and social network activity on the topic “autism and MMR vaccine”, during the period 2010–2015.
A significant inverse correlation was found between MMR vaccination coverage and Internet search activity, tweets and Facebook posts. New media might have played a role in spreading misinformation. Media monitoring could be useful to assess the level of vaccine hesitancy and to plan and target effective information campaigns.