Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy on English-language Twitter

Resumen

Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy seems likely to increase mortality rates and delay the easing of social distancing restrictions. Online platforms with large audiences may influence vaccine hesitancy by spreading fear and misinformation that is avoided by the mainstream media. Understanding what types of vaccine hesitancy information is shared on the popular social web site Twitter may therefore help to design interventions to address misleading attitudes. This study applies content analysis to a random sample of 446 vaccine hesitant Covid-19 tweets in English posted between 10 March and 5 December 2020. The main themes discussed were conspiracies, vaccine development speed, and vaccine safety. Most (79%) of those tweeting refusal to take a vaccine expressed right-wing opinions, fear of a deep state, or conspiracy theories. A substantial minority of vaccine refusers (18%) mainly tweeted non-politically about other themes. The topics on Twitter reflect vaccine concerns, but those stating vaccine refusal in non-political contexts may unsettle the wider Twitter network by reaching outside right-wing areas of Twitter.

Biografía del autor/a

Mike Thelwall, University of Wolverhampton

Mike Thelwall is the head of the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. He has developed a wide range of software for gathering and analysing web data, including hyperlink analysis, sentiment analysis and content analysis for Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, blogs and the web in general.

Kayvan Kousha, University of Wolverhampton

Researcher, Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, University of Wolverhampton.

Saheeda Thelwall, University of Wolverhampton
Senior Lecturer Adult Nursing, Institute of Health

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Publicado
2021-03-15
Cómo citar
Thelwall, M., Kousha, K., & Thelwall, S. (2021). Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy on English-language Twitter. Profesional De La Información, 30(2). https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2021.mar.12
Sección
Artículos de investigación / Research articles

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