Monday, April 8th, 2013
People who post anti-vaccine messages on Twitter tend to lead to other negative tweets, while positive messages don’t spread support for vaccines in the same way, a new study published in the journal EPJ Data Science. NBC News has more:
The study analyzed more than 300,000 tweets that expressed an opinion about the H1N1 flu vaccine in 2009.
Twitter users who saw anti-vaccine posts in their Twitter feed tended to tweet anti-vaccine sentiments themselves, the results show. However, those who saw positive vaccine sentiments didn’t tweet positive sentiments themselves.
What’s more, positive tweets about vaccines sometimes had the opposite effect — a high number of pro-vaccine posts seemed to encourage people to tweet negatively about vaccines, said study researcher Marcel Salathé, an assistant professor of biology at Penn State University.
“In other words, pro-vaccine messages seemed to backfire when enough of them were received,” Salathé said.
The reason for this phenomenon is not clear. But it’s possible that “many people had latent negative opinions about the vaccine, and when they were intensely exposed to enough positive messages, they felt the need to express their negative sentiment,” Salathé said.
Image: Mom on computer, via Shutterstock
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Monday, February 25th, 2013
Women who received flu vaccines during the 2009 flu season, which was deemed a “pandemic” because of its severity, were more likely to have healthy pregnancies than those who didn’t get their flu shots, according to a new study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. More from The New York Times:
Typically flu vaccination rates among pregnant women have hovered between 13 to 18 percent nationally. But a push by health officials during the 2009 season drove vaccination rates for the H1N1 vaccine up to about 45 percent in the United States, where they have remained since.
Some expectant mothers have been reluctant to get a flu shot over concern about the health of the fetus, but the study showed that flu vaccination was not only safe but protective, said Dr. Saad Omer of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, the senior author of the study.
Dr. Omer and his colleagues looked at the electronic medical records of 3,327 pregnant women between April 2009 and April 2010. The study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that the infants born to vaccinated mothers had a 37 percent lower likelihood of being premature, and they also weighed more at birth than babies born to unvaccinated women.
Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock
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Monday, October 10th, 2011
A study published today in the journal Pediatrics reports that a single dose of the seasonal flu vaccine, which includes protection against the pandemic H1N1 strain, can significantly lower hospitalization rates for children between the ages of 6 months and 9 years.
Young children are typically given a two-dose vaccine against flu, because their immune systems can better metabolize two pediatric doses given 30 days apart.
But the study, conducted in Canada using hospitalization and vaccination records from the 2009 flu season, found that even one pediatric dose of vaccine was found to be 85 percent effective in preventing flu, as soon as 10-14 days after the dose was administered. Different ages were protected at different rates after the single dose, with 6-23-month-olds having the highest level of protection, 92 percent.
The World Health Organization has officially declared an end to the H1N1 pandemic, though the strain will continue to circulate for years to come. The WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge everyone over 6 months of age to receive a flu vaccine and follow good sanitary practices such as frequent hand-washing and covering nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
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