Cures, treatments and vaccines for Covid-19: international differences in interest on Twitter
AbstractSince the Covid-19 pandemic is a global threat to health that few can fully escape, it has given a unique opportunity to study international reactions to a common problem. Such reactions can be partly obtained from public posts to Twitter, allowing investigations of changes in interest over time. This study analysed English-language Covid-19 tweets mentioning cures, treatments, or vaccines from 1 January 2020 to 8 April 2021, seeking trends and international differences. The results have methodological limitations but show a tendency for countries with a lower human development index score to tweet more about cures, although they were a minor topic for all countries. Vaccines were discussed about as much as treatments until July 2020, when they generated more interest because of developments in Russia. The November 2020 Pfizer-BioNTech preliminary Phase 3 trials results generated an immediate and sustained sharp increase, however, followed by a continuing roughly linear increase in interest for vaccines until at least April 2021. Against this background, national deviations from the average were triggered by country-specific news about cures, treatments, or vaccines. Nevertheless, interest in vaccines in all countries increased in parallel to some extent, despite substantial international differences in national regulatory approval and availability. The results also highlight that unsubstantiated claims about alternative medicine remedies gained traction in several countries, apparently posing a threat to public health.
CitationThelwall, M. (2021) Cures, treatments and vaccines for Covid-19: international differences in interest on Twitter. Journal of Altmetrics, 4(1), article no. 4. DOI: http://doi.org/10.29024/joa.42
PublisherLevy Library Press
JournalJournal of Altmetrics
Description© 2021 The Authors. Published by Levy Library Press. This is an open access article available under a Creative Commons licence. The published version can be accessed at the following link on the publisher’s website: http://doi.org/10.29024/joa.42
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/