Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Exploring Twitter Users Opinions on Covid-19 Vaccinations

In order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, -19 vaccines have been rapidly developed and are currently being administered world-wide. In order for vaccination programme to be successful, it is necessary to achieve a high level of coverage. However, a considerable segment of the population are unsure or tentative about having the COVID-19 vaccine, often referred to as vaccine hesitant, with recent surveys by Office for National Statistics (March 2021) showing hesitancy levels particularly high in ethnic minority groups (7%-29%) and in younger age groups (8%-13%). Research into the reasons for vaccine hesitancy has uncovered several underlying reasons, including exposure to misinformation via social media, mistrust of government and medical institutions, concerns about the safety of vaccines, and beliefs that vaccination is not needed if someone has had a previous COVID-19 infection. 

One method for exploring public opinions on COVID-19 vaccinations is by analysing data from the social media networking site, Twitter. Twitter is a 'microblogging' site allowing people to post and read short posts (up to 280 characters long; previously 144) called tweets. By default, all tweets are made public, providing a large and rich data set to conduct research. Please read our privacy notice for more information about how we collect and store Twitter data. 

The aim of this study is to explore the attitudes and beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccines by analysing Twitter data. By identifying barriers to vaccination, this research could inform vaccination programme communication and operation strategies.

Principal investigator: Dr Aradhna Kaushal and Nazia Malakzi
Contact: Dr Aradhna Kaushal
Collaborators: Dr Christian von Wagner and Dr Ruth Plackett