• Can Twitter give insights into international differences in Covid-19 vaccination? Eight countries’ English tweets to 21 March 2021

      Thelwall, Mike (Ediciones Profesionales de la Informacion SL, 2021-05-30)
      Vaccination programs may help the world to reduce or eliminate Covid-19. Information about them may help countries to design theirs more effectively, with important benefits for public health. This article investigates whether it is possible to get insights into national vaccination programmes from a quick international comparison of public comments on Twitter. For this, word association thematic analysis (WATA) was applied to English-language vaccine-related tweets from eight countries gathered between 5 December 2020 and 21 March 2021. The method was able to quickly identify multiple international differences. Whilst some were irrelevant, potentially non-trivial differences include differing extents to which non-government scientific experts are important to national vaccination discussions. For example, Ireland seemed to be the only country in which university presidents were widely tweeted about in vaccine discussions. India’s vaccine kindness term #VaccineMaitri was another interesting difference, highlighting the need for international sharing.
    • Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy on English-language Twitter

      Thelwall, Mike; Kousha, Kayvan; Thelwall, Saheeda (Ediciones Profesionales de la Informacion SL, 2021-03-15)
      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.
    • Investigating future pharmacists' understanding of vaccines and myths surrounding vaccination

      Zahid, Sidrah; Morrissey, Hana; Ball, Patrick (Innovare Academic Sciences, 2020-09-18)
      Objective: The United Kingdom has lost its measles, mumps and rubella free status due to a decline in vaccination uptake. There are several beliefs such as safety concern and media influence that discourage people from having vaccinations. To identify gaps in knowledge of vaccination within 3rd year pharmacy students, and to observe whether they can spot myths about vaccines, in particular the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Methods: A questionnaire-based approach was used after gaining ethical approval which included a range of open and closed questions. Results: None of the participants could identify the six common myths reported by the World Health Organisation and 40% failed to accurately identify the type of vaccine of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. There were clear gaps in knowledge on vaccines in participants particularly from black, Asian and minority ethnic group participants compared to white students. Educating participants about the myths could have positive future implications on their scientific knowledge when they work as pharmacists. Conclusion: Many students did not accurately identify the myths surrounding vaccines and were provided informative leaflets to enhance their scientific knowledge. The gaps in knowledge identified, demonstrates that further teaching sessions should be implemented to cover the grey areas, allowing them to appropriately recommend vaccinations in the future.