Researchers at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute have analysed social media to investigate associations between vaccine-related major news announcements, and attitudes towards vaccines.
They looked at nearly two million tweets from the UK during November 2020 to January 2021, a period that coincided with news on the major vaccine trials being announced or published, and approvals by the UK Medicine and Health Regulations Authority (MHRA).
They found that each major news announcement related to vaccine releases was associated with a large decrease in negative sentiment on the same day, dropping from around 40% to 20% of all daily tweets.
However, this effect was short-lived, and the proportion of negative tweets reverted back to the background average within a few days. They also observed a similar decrease in negative sentiment when Pfizer/BioNTech announced its phase III vaccine trial results.
Credits Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute