Sentiment Analysis of Social Media on Childhood Vaccination: Development of an Ontology

Background: Although vaccination rates are above the threshold for
herd immunity in South Korea, a growing number of parents have
expressed concerns about the safety of vaccines. It is important to
understand these concerns so that we can maintain high vaccination
rates. Objective: The aim of this study was to develop a childhood
vaccination ontology to serve as a framework for collecting and
analyzing social data on childhood vaccination and to use this
ontology for identifying concerns about and sentiments toward
childhood vaccination from social data. Methods: The domain and
scope of the ontology were determined by developing competency
questions. We checked if existing ontologies and conceptual
frameworks related to vaccination can be reused for the childhood
vaccination ontology. Terms were collected from clinical practice
guidelines, research papers, and posts on social media platforms.
Class concepts were extracted from these terms. A class hierarchy
was developed using a top-down approach. The ontology was evaluated
in terms of description logics, face and content validity, and
coverage. In total, 40,359 Korean posts on childhood vaccination
were collected from 27 social media channels between January and
December 2015. Vaccination issues were identified and classified
using the second-level class concepts of the ontology. The
sentiments were classified in 3 ways: positive, negative or
neutral. Posts were analyzed using frequency, trend, logistic
regression, and association rules. Results: Our childhood
vaccination ontology comprised 9 superclasses with 137 subclasses
and 431 synonyms for class, attribute, and value concepts.
Parent’s health belief appeared in 53.21% (15,709/29,521) of
posts and positive sentiments appeared in 64.08% (17,454/27,236) of
posts. Trends in sentiments toward vaccination were affected by
news about vaccinations. Posts with parents’ health belief,
vaccination availability, and vaccination policy were associated
with positive sentiments, whereas posts with experience of vaccine
adverse events were associated with negative sentiments.
Conclusions: The childhood vaccination ontology developed in this
study was useful for collecting and analyzing social data on
childhood vaccination. We expect that practitioners and researchers
in the field of childhood vaccination could use our ontology to
identify concerns about and sentiments toward childhood vaccination
from social data.

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Sentiment Analysis of Social Media on Childhood Vaccination: Development of an Ontology