Social media behaviour could inform how to increase vaccine take up rates

The first study to analyse social media to understand attitudes towards the Covid-19 vaccine identifies the link between social media engagement behaviour and vaccine take up.

The research explored 10,000 public interactions with World Health Organisation (WHO) vaccine communications on Facebook.

Seven patterns of engagement behaviour towards the vaccine were identified by academics Dr Jaylan Azer from University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School and Dr Matthew Alexander from Strathclyde Business School.

These are:

  • Advocating
  • Proposing
  • Inquiring
  • Skeptical
  • Sarcastic
  • Rebutting
  • Dispiriting

Their work developed a framework of relationships between these patterns and our existing understanding of vaccine acceptance, hesitancy and refusal.

Dr Jaylan Azer said: “The Covid-19 vaccines faced a backdrop of mistrust and misinformation around their safety and effectiveness, particularly on social media. This is a major barrier for the public health sector seeking to manage Covid and future pandemics. This study offers more nuanced understanding of public engagement behaviour toward COVID-19 vaccinations and can help policymakers identify and adapt interventions to increase vaccine confidence and tailor public health services communications accordingly.”

The work provides communication recommendations to public health organisations and could inform how they use social media to better engage and communicate about the Covid-19 vaccination.


First published: 28 March 2022

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