Introduction: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine coverage in Australia is 80% for females and 76% for males. Attitudes may influence coverage but surveys measuring attitudes are resource-intensive. The aim of this study was to determine whether Twitter-derived estimates of HPV vaccine information exposure were associated with differences in coverage across regions in Australia. Methods: Regional differences in information exposure were estimated from 1,103,448 Australian Twitter users and 655,690 HPV vaccine related tweets posted between 6 September 2013 and 1 September 2017. Tweets about HPV vaccines were grouped using topic modelling; an algorithm for clustering text-based data. Proportional exposure to topics across 25 regions in Australia were used as factors to model HPV vaccine coverage in females and males, and compared to models using employment and education as factors. Results: Models using topic exposure measures were more closely correlated with HPV vaccine coverage (female: Pearson’s R = 0.75 [0.49 to 0.88]; male: R = 0.76 [0.51 to 0.89]) than models using employment and education as factors (female: 0.39 [−0.02 to 0.68]; male: 0.36 [−0.04 to 0.66]). In Australia, positively-framed news tended to reach more Twitter users overall, but vaccine-critical information made up higher proportions of exposures among Twitter users in low coverage regions, where distorted characterisations of safety research and vaccine-critical blogs were popular. Conclusions: Twitter-derived models of information exposure were correlated with HPV vaccine coverage in Australia. Topic exposure measures may be useful for providing timely and localised reports of the information people access and share to inform the design of targeted vaccine promotion interventions.
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- human papillomavirus vaccines
- media representation
- Social media