This segment will:
- 1Describe the progression and intensity of media coverage the week after the student died shortly after receiving HPV vaccination,
- 2Talk to the accuracy in reporting the facts of the event, details related to the overall safety of the vaccine and information obtained from a vaccine expert and its potential impact on public perceptions of immunization safety.
Analysing the media
The death of the student shortly following HPV vaccination instigated widespread media attention and provoked public concern about the vaccine.
“Teen dies after Cervarix shot.”– CNN International
“Rogue cervical cancer jab fears after girl, 14, dies.”– Daily Mail
“Cervical cancer vaccinations postponed.”– The Guardian
“Plea for calm after cancer vaccine death.”– Evening Standard
“Cervical cancer vaccination ‘most likely’ to have caused girl’s death ... further tests needed to determine how Natalie Morton died...”– The Guardian
However, two days later, after preliminary post-mortem results cleared the vaccine from playing a role in the death, the story was of little interest to the media.
“Government backs vaccine plan despite girl’s death.”– Birmingham Post
“UK teenager killed by tumour, not Glaxo vaccine.”– Reuters US Edition
“Every parent’s nightmare: We know that the cervical cancer jab did not directly cause the death of Natalie Morton. But parents still worry.”– The Guardian
As fast as the story appeared, sometimes with damaging headlines, it disappeared.