Prevalence of Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine Information on Family Medicine Practice Websites in the U.S. Northeast and South Open Access

Jordan, Natalie (Spring 2022)

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Purpose: With regional disparities in pediatric COVID-19 vaccine coverage in the U.S.,1 this study assesses the prevalence of pediatric COVID-19 vaccine related information on family medicine providers’ websites in Southern and Northeastern regions of the United States. Due to longstanding public trust in medical providers’ professional opinions, their online promotion of COVID-19 vaccines for children 5-11 years old may be useful for further increasing pediatric vaccine uptake. 


Methods: Using a dataset of U.S.-based family medicine providers originally collated in Fall 2021, websites of 255 practices located in the U.S. Northeast and South were re-examined for provision of information about pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations. Cross-sectional website content analysis was conducted from January 19, 2022 to February 2, 2022. Modified Poisson regression with robust error variances was used to estimate prevalence ratios for mentioning of pediatric COVID-19 vaccines on website homepages and anywhere on the websites. 


Results: Of 255 websites, 28 (11.0%) mentioned pediatric COVID-19 vaccines on the homepage. After adjusting for number of practice locations, conglomerate association, and university affiliation, the prevalence of mentioning pediatric COVID-19 vaccination on the homepage was 0.55 times lower among practices in the South compared to practices in the Northeast (p-value =0.09). While mentioning pediatric COVID-19 vaccines anywhere on practice websites was more prevalent (n=174, 68.2%), it was observed more often on websites from the Northeast than the South (81.1% versus 61.2%, p < 0.01). Adjusted prevalence of mentioning pediatric COVID-19 vaccines anywhere on the website was 0.78 lower in the South than in the Northeast (p-value < 0.01).


Conclusions: With only 11% of family medicine practices’ websites mentioning pediatric COVID-19 vaccine content on their homepage, routine vaccine providers can improve provision of pediatric COVID-19 vaccine-related information on this existing communication platform. Presence of vaccine content on practice websites varies by geography, suggesting greater emphasis on improving website content may be more impactful in the South than other U.S. regions like the Northeast. With concomitant variations in regional pediatric vaccine coverage, practices and their patient populations may benefit greatly from improving easy access to reputable vaccine information from existing websites already hosted by their trusted family providers.  

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