Online comments show support for HPV vaccine: study

TORONTO — A new study suggests there’s more support for HPV vaccination than one might expect, given the controversies that dogged the vaccine programs in the past.

The vaccine prevents infection with human papillomaviruses that cause cervical cancer.

The viruses are contracted through sexuality activity.

There were some concerns that vaccination programs in schools would give girls license to have sex at an earlier age.

Some Roman Catholic school boards initially refused to allow school-based clinics to deliver the vaccine.

But the study, published in the journal PLoS One, found that the majority of comments responding to articles about HPV vaccination on Canadian newspaper websites were supportive of use of the vaccine.

A third of the comments were negative, about 11 per cent were neutral and nearly three per cent were mixed.

The research was done by scientists at Public Health Ontario and was based on 71 news articles published in 2012.

Helen Branswell, The Canadian Press