Acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine among social media users: content analysis, multicontinental study


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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 8;19(9):5737. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19095737.


Vaccine hesitancy (HV) is defined as a delay in accepting or refusing vaccines despite the availability of vaccination services. This multinational study examined user interaction with social media about COVID-19 vaccination. The study analyzed social media comments in 24 countries across five continents. A total of 5856 responses were analyzed; 83.5% of comments came from Facebook, while 16.5% came from Twitter. On Facebook, overall acceptance of the vaccine was 40.3%; the lowest acceptance rates were evident in Jordan (8.5%), Oman (15.0%), Senegal (20.0%) and Morocco (20.7%) and the rate of Continental acceptance was the lowest in North America at 22.6%. On Twitter, the overall acceptance rate was (41.5%); the lowest acceptance rate was found in Oman (14.3%), followed by the United States (20.5%) and the United Kingdom (23.3%) and the continental acceptance rate was lowest in North America (20.5%) and Europe (29.7%). Differences in vaccine acceptance between countries and continents on Facebook and Twitter were statistically significant. Regarding the tone of comments, on Facebook, the countries with the highest number of serious comments were Sweden (90.9%), the United States (61.3%) and Thailand (58.8%). At the continental level, serious comments were highest in Asia (58.4%), followed by Africa (46.2%) and South America (46.2%). On Twitter, the highest serious tone was reported in Egypt (72.2%) while at the continental level, the highest proportion of serious comments was seen in Asia (59.7%), followed by Europe (46.5%). The differences in tone between countries and continents on Facebook and Twitter were statistically significant. There was a significant association between tone and position of comments. We concluded that overall acceptance of the vaccine in social media was relatively low and varied among the countries and continents surveyed. Therefore, further studies are needed to address the causes of these VHs and combat infodemics.

PMID:35565132 | DOI:10.3390/ijerph19095737

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Jenny T. Curlee