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March 26, 2008

Medical Information on YouTube—Reply

JAMA. 2008;299(12):1424-1426. doi:10.1001/jama.299.12.1425

In Reply: Dr Hayanga and Ms Kaiser raise 2 concerns. First, they question the conclusions of our study by suggesting that a more specific keyword search using the term flu shot may give a different picture of the types of messages about immunization being disseminated by YouTube. Second, they doubt whether YouTube should or even could be taken seriously by the medical community.

Our study design and deliberate choice of keywords were based on and consistent with a body of literature examining the public understanding of immunization and the use of the Internet to seek out health information.1-3 Since the search we conducted in February 2007, many more videos pertaining to immunization have been posted. For example, our initial search term immunization identified 53 results, whereas the same term now yields 168 results, indicating the increasing use of the YouTube site for communicating this type of information.