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Online Vaccine Videos Questioned

Negative Immunization Videos Posted on YouTube May Contradict Facts, Experts Warn
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 4, 2007 -- If you turn to YouTube to get information about immunizations, you may want to keep the findings of a new study in mind.

In February, University of Toronto researchers screened 153 vaccine videos posted on YouTube.

The videos included clips for and against immunization, and some of the videos showed anxious parents or crying babies.

About half of the videos didn't explicitly support immunization: 48% were positive about immunization, 32% were negative, and 20% were ambiguous about vaccines.

Negative videos tended to get higher ratings from YouTube users. But those videos "often contradicted the reference standard," write Jennifer Keelan, PhD, and colleagues.

Keelan's team urges doctors to "be aware of Internet video-sharing sites and be prepared to respond to patients who obtain their health information from these sources."

Doctors and other experts might also consider posting their own videos to communicate health information, Keelan's team suggests.

Their report appears in tomorrow's edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

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