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Med Mal Infect. 2016 May;46(3):117-22. doi: 10.1016/j.medmal.2016.02.002. Epub 2016 Mar 14.

The impact of the web and social networks on vaccination. New challenges and opportunities offered to fight against vaccine hesitancy.

Author information

Infectious Diseases Department, University of Grenoble, CHU de Grenoble, Grenoble, France. Electronic address:
CHU de Créteil, 40, avenue de Verdun, 94010 Créteil cedex, France.
CHU Dupuytren, 2, avenue Martin-Luther-King, 87042 Limoges cedex, France.
Hôpital Jean-Verdier, hôpitaux universitaires Paris-Deine-Saint-Denis, 93140 Bondy, France; Université Paris-XIII, AP-HP, Paris, France.
University of Lille, CHU de Lille, EA 2694, 2, avenue Oscar-Lambret, 59037 Lille cedex, France.
GSK vaccines, 100, route de Versailles, 78163 Marly-le-Roi cedex, France.
Institut des Mamans, 2, rue Balny-d'Avricourt, 75017 Paris, France.



Vaccine hesitancy is a growing and threatening trend, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks and potentially defeating health authorities' strategies. We aimed to describe the significant role of social networks and the Internet on vaccine hesitancy, and more generally on vaccine attitudes and behaviors.


Presentation and discussion of lessons learnt from: (i) the monitoring and analysis of web and social network contents on vaccination; (ii) the tracking of Google search terms used by web users; (iii) the analysis of Google search suggestions related to vaccination; (iv) results from the Vaccinoscopie(©) study, online annual surveys of representative samples of 6500 to 10,000 French mothers, monitoring vaccine behaviors and attitude of French parents as well as vaccination coverage of their children, since 2008; and (v) various studies published in the scientific literature.


Social networks and the web play a major role in disseminating information about vaccination. They have modified the vaccination decision-making process and, more generally, the doctor/patient relationship. The Internet may fuel controversial issues related to vaccination and durably impact public opinion, but it may also provide new tools to fight against vaccine hesitancy.


Vaccine hesitancy should be fought on the Internet battlefield, and for this purpose, communication strategies should take into account new threats and opportunities offered by the web and social networks.


Google; Hésitation vaccinale; Internet; Réseaux sociaux; Social network; Vaccine hesitancy; Web

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