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Title: What to Inject When You’re Expecting: Understanding the News-Vaccination Relationship for the Maternal Influenza Vaccine in England
Authors: Viswanath, Mallika
Advisors: Graham, Andrea L.
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Certificate Program: Global Health and Health Policy Program
Class Year: 2017
Abstract: Pregnant women are at increased risk of developing severe influenza infections, which also affect her fetus and her baby. To prevent these cases, many countries recommend pregnant women be vaccinated against the flu. Strong evidence supports the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety, and the vaccine also provides protection to her fetus and temporary maternal antibodies to her infant. Despite these benefits, vaccine coverage rates (VCR) among pregnant women in England, where the recommendation was issued in 2010, remain relatively low. This thesis explores the potential of news media to positively influence pregnant women to be vaccinated, hypothesizing that flu- and pregnancy-related media increase VCR.To analyze this relationship, I collected monthly VCR data, for the six years that the maternal vaccine has been recommended, from Public Health England and news data from NewBank. The news data consisted of the monthly frequencies of five terms related to the maternal flu vaccine. Using the fixed-effects Least Squares Dummy Variable (LSDV) model to absorb month-specific seasonality in the VCR data, I analyzed the relationship between news-VCR for both matched data (i.e. November news and November VCR) and lagged data (i.e. November news and December VCR). I found no significant effect of the news for either of these analyses. In a second analysis in which I switched the direction of my model, I found that VCR influence flu- and vaccine-related news in the following month.Neither hypothesis is supported, and the absence of a news effect on pregnant women’s VCR is surprising. The complexity of health-seeking behaviors during pregnancy may impede this type of analysis. Future research should investigate whether disease incidence plays a role in the VCR effect on news, and future campaigns should continue to strengthen the relationships between pregnant women and health providers.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Global Health and Health Policy Program, 2017-2022
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2022

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