Some more data from latest CCP/Annenberg Public Policy Center's latest "science of science communication" study.
I was curious, among other things, about what the current state of political divisions might be on the risk of the HPV vaccine.
At one point—back in 2006-10, I’d say—the efficacy and safety of the vaccine was indeed culturally contested.
The public was polarized; and state legislatures across the nation ended up rejecting the addition of the vaccine to the schedule of mandatory vaccinations for school enrollment, the first (and only) time that has happened (on that scale) for a vaccine that the CDC had added to the schedule of recommended universal childhood immunizations.
I’ve discussed the background at length, including the decisive contribution that foreseeable, avoidable miscues in the advent of the vaccine made to this sad state of affairs.
I was wondering, though, if things had cooled off.
There is still low HPV uptake. But it’s unclear what the cause is.
Maybe the issue is still a polarizing one.
But even without continuing controversy one would expect rates to be lower insofar as the vaccine still isn’t mandatory outside of DC, Virginia and (recently) Rhode Island.
In addition, there’s reason to believe that pediatricians are gun shy to recommend the vaccine b/c of their recollection of getting burned when the vaccine was introduced. Their reticence might have outlived the continuing public ambivalence, and now be the source of lower-than-optimal coverage.
So I plotted perceptions of various risk, measured with the Industrial Strength Risk Perception measure, in relation to right-left political outlooks.
I put the biggies—global warming, and fracking (plus terrorism, since I mentioned that yesterday and the issue generated some discussion)--in for comparison.
Also, childhood vaccinations, which as, I've discussed in the past, do not generate a particularly meaningful degree of polarization.
Obviously HPV is much less polarizing than the “biggies.”
But the degree of division on HPV doesn’t strike me, at least, as trivial.
Political division on the risks posed by other childhood vaccines is less intense, and still trivial or pretty close to it, particularly insofar as risk is perceived as “low” pretty much across the spectrum. In truth, though, it strikes me as a tad bigger than what I’ve observed in the past (that’s worrisome. . . .).
But that’s all I have to say for now!
What do other think?
Here, btw, are the wordings for the ISRPM items:
TERROR. Terrorist attacks inside the United States
FRACKING. “Fracking” (extraction of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing)
VACRISK. Vaccination of children against childhood diseases (such as mumps, measles and rubella)
HPV. Vaccinating adolescents against HPV (the human human papillomavirus)
GWARMING. Global warming