Newsprint coverage of HPV vaccination programme
In September 2008, the human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programme was introduced in the UK for schoolgirls aged between 12 and 18 years of age. The vaccine shows high efficacy in preventing infection against HPV types 16 and 18 responsible for 70% of cervical cancer. However, to be most effective, the vaccine needs to be administered before exposure to the viruses and therefore, ideally, before young people become sexually active. The introduction of any new vaccine, and perhaps particularly one given to young teenage girls to prevent a sexually transmitted cancer-causing virus, has the potential to attract a great deal of media attention. This paper reports on a content analysis of 344 articles published between January 2005 and December 2008 in 15 UK newspapers. It includes both manifest and latent analysis to examine newsprint media coverage of the introduction of the HPV vaccination programme and its role in HPV advocacy. Analysis suggested that there was generally positive media coverage surrounding the introduction of the HPV vaccination programme which might contribute towards influencing public perceptions about the acceptability and need for HPV vaccination, however there were some unhelpful aspects of media coverage. This project was funded by the MRC's Population Health Sciences Research Network.