top of page

Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Information and Education in the Age of Social Media:  A Systematic Content Analysis of YouTube Videos    


Since 2010, there have been between 9.2-35.6 million cases of seasonal influenza in the US, causing between 12,000-56,000 deaths and 140,000-710,000 hospitalizations. To decrease morbidity and mortality, a new seasonal influenza vaccine panel is formulated each year, which is strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.


On the national level, the Department of Health and Human Services (Healthy People 2020) aims to vaccinate between 70-90% of the US population (depending on susceptibility) with the seasonal influenza vaccine once per year. Notwithstanding this important goal, seasonal influenza vaccine coverage in the 2016-2017 flu season was estimated to be only 59% nationally. Several studies have shown a disparity in vaccination coverage, with non-Hispanic whites being significantly more likely to be vaccinated than non-Hispanic Blacks, and Hispanics. Although increased age, insurance coverage, income, higher education, and perception of racial fairness all lead to an increased likelihood of vaccination regardless of race or ethnicity, there continues to be disparity within these sub-groups.


Two important predictors of this disparity include level of trust and the fear of side effects from vaccinations. There is documented history of mistrust in communities of color, specifically African American communities, with regard to health and human services providers, programs and policies. To address this disparity, it is important to explore how communities express knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the seasonal influenza vaccine.

The purpose of this proposed study is to identify trends and to analyze the content of popular videos related to the seasonal influenza vaccine on YouTube. Findings will contribute to a deeper understanding of current information readily available on YouTube, a ubiquitous social media platform, concerning seasonal influenza, the seasonal influenza vaccine, and related perceptions. Content analyzed through this research can be used to understand the messaging related to the seasonal influenza vaccine in popular YouTube videos. Findings could be instrumental in developing appropriate messages using culturally-responsive language to inform communities on the advantages of being vaccinated annually. 


Funding Source:  PSC-CUNY Traditional A Grant (Awaiting Award #)

Co-Principal Investigators:  Nicholas A. Grosskopf, EdD, MCHES & Susan Letteney, DSW, LCSW
Status:  Funding begins July 1, 2019

bottom of page