Global Search Trends on Common Vaccine-Related Information in English on the Internet

J Family Med Prim Care. 2020 Feb 28;9(2):698-705. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1001_19. eCollection 2020 Feb.


Background: The knowledge about Internet search trends helps to know the information-seeking behavior of the Internet users and this would help in formulating Information Education and Communication strategy.

Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the global Internet search trends about vaccine-related information in English.

Materials and methods: First, we conducted a pilot interview with 15 participants (convenience sample from a tertiary care hospital) to make a list of five common query keywords (viz., When, Where, Cost, Side effect, Schedule) for vaccine-related search. Then, we obtained the search trends from "Google trends" for 5 years with the five query keywords prefixed with vaccine (e.g. vaccine when). In the second phase, individual vaccine search was conducted with a particular vaccine name and query keyword (e.g. measles vaccine side effect).

Results: Five-year search trend showed that the highest volume of search was for "schedule" (36.79%), followed by "when" (26.57%), "cost" (21.97%), and "where" (11.99%). The "side effect" showed the lowest volume of search (2.68%) (χ2 = 10595, P < 0.0001). The search volume was increased over the years. The highest volume of the "when" and "where" were searched from the USA. The "cost" was searched in the highest volume from Australia. "Side effect" and "schedule" of the vaccine were searched with the highest volume from Philippines and Nepal, respectively.

Conclusion: This study provides a glimpse of global vaccine-related search trends over a period of 5 years. Information on the "schedule" and "when" to get the vaccine should be strengthened for wider dissemination of knowledge.

Keywords: Google trends; immunization; information-seeking behavior; vaccination.