In Australia, ladies are vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) at a rate of 80%, while men are vaccinated at a rate of 76%. Views may affect coverage, but polls to measure attitudes are time-consuming and expensive. The purpose of this study was to see if Twitter-derived estimates of HPV vaccination information exposure were related to variations in coverage across Australia’s regions. Regional variations in information exposure were calculated using data from 1,103,448 Australian Twitter users and 655,690 HPV vaccine-related tweets sent between September 6, 2013 and September 1, 2017. Topic modelling, a method for grouping text-based data, was used to categorise tweets regarding HPV vaccinations. Proportional exposure to themes in 25 Australian areas was used as a factor to predict HPV vaccination coverage in boys and females, and it was compared to models that utilised employment and education as variables. Topic exposure models were more closely connected to HPV vaccination coverage than models that included work and education as variables. Positively framed news reached more Twitter users overall in Australia, but vaccine-critical material accounted for a larger proportion of exposures among Twitter users in poor coverage areas where inaccurate characterisations of safety studies and vaccine-critical blogs were prominent.
Twitter-derived information exposure models were found to be associated with HPV vaccination coverage in Australia. Topic exposure measurements may be valuable for giving immediate and localised reports of the information individuals access and share, which may then be used to influence the design of tailored vaccination promotion initiatives.