Amount of Narratives Used on Japanese Pro- and Anti-HPV Vaccination Websites: A Content Analysis

Document Type: Short Communications

Authors

Department of Health Communication, School of Public Health, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract

Background: HPV vaccination is an effective way in preventing cervical cancer. However, HPV vaccination
coverage rate has fallen to only a few percent in Japan. Anti HPV-vaccination websites often use narratives of those
who have experienced adverse reactions to HPV vaccine to enhance their persuasiveness. Scholars suggest using the
same medium to promote HPV vaccination online; e.g., presenting narratives of those who have experienced cervical
cancer. We examined the amount of narratives used on Japanese pro- and anti-HPV vaccination websites. Methods: We
conducted online searches using two major search engines (Googl.jp and Yahoo!.jp). Identified websites were classified
as “pro,” “anti,” or “neutral” depending on their claims. Two independent raters coded the pro and anti websites and
counted the number of narratives of people who experienced side effects of HPV vaccine or cervical cancer. Results:
A total 26% of anti websites posted narratives on side effects. No pro websites posted narratives about having cervical
cancer. Conclusion: Pro-HPV vaccination websites is recommended to post narratives to enhance the persuasiveness
of their arguments.

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