Original Study| Volume 32, ISSUE 2, P153-157, April 2019

Content and Commentary: HPV Vaccine and YouTube

Published:November 13, 2018DOI:


      Study Objective

      Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has shown efficacy, however, many vaccine-eligible persons remain unvaccinated. YouTube is a popular video-sharing platform with several topics, including the HPV vaccine. Our purpose was to examine the tone of YouTube videos toward the HPV vaccine, accuracy of the information displayed, and content of commentary.


      In this observational study we investigated publicly available content regarding the HPV vaccine on the video-sharing Web site YouTube ( Videos and comments were collected between June 22, 2014 and December 19, 2014. A total of 35 videos, with the 100 most recent comments for each video were collected and coded by a single researcher. A 25% subsample were coded by a second researcher to ensure inter-rater agreement of greater than 80%.

      Setting, Participants, and Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Videos were evaluated for 4 types of information: descriptive information, tone toward the vaccine (anti- or pro-vaccine), content, and commentary content, sorted according to 11 frequently identified themes.


      Most videos were negative in tone toward the vaccine. The tone of the video was not a predictor of video popularity. Pro-vaccine videos were 4 times more likely to report information accurately than anti-vaccine videos. Anti-vaccine videos were more likely to report information incorrectly and omit information. The most frequent commentary themes were concerning serious side effects, conspiracy theories, and vaccines generally being unhealthy.


      The Internet is an important resource for the general population; widely viewed YouTube videos contain erroneous and incomplete information. Anti-vaccine ideology is prevalent in video content and commentary.

      Key Words

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