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Klassen and Colleagues Publish Two Articles on News Media Coverage of the HPV Vaccine

February 7, 2014

Ann KlassenAnn Klassen, PhD (right), Associate Dean for Research and Chair of the Department of Community Health and Prevention, is a senior author on two recently published articles examining the presentation of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the news media between 2005 and 2009, and the likely role of this coverage on vaccine policy development, public support and uptake in the United States.

In collaboration with Dana Casciotti of the National Library of Medicine, and Katherine Clegg Smith and Amy Tsui of Johns Hopkins, the article “Discussions of adolescent sexuality in news media coverage of the HPV vaccine” published in the February issue of the Journal of Adolescence, uses a mixed methods approach to analyze 447 articles from national and regional papers, and a purposive sample of 49 articles with content related to sexuality.   Although the discourse generally supported vaccination in the context of comprehensive sexual health education for adolescents, it also emphasized fear-inducing messages about HPV and cervical cancer.

A second analysis, “Print News Coverage of School-Based Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Mandates”, appears in the February issue of the Journal of School Health.   This paper focuses on the discourse concerning middle school vaccination mandates for girls, which were proposed in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and enacted in Texas, Virginia, and D.C.  Both papers provide insight into the strategies for public health communication, to inform the discourse around new and potentially controversial public health efforts.