UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Lan Li

• Supervisor: Patty Kostkova
• Funding: China Scholarship Council-UCL Joint Research Scholarship
• Email: lan.li.19@ucl.ac.uk

The Real Impact of Social Media on Vaccination: A Comparison Study on Behavior Change between the UK and China

Under the ferment of social media, vaccine hesitancy becomes increasingly a severe public health problem in recent years. Although there is much research about measuring the influence of social media (Facebook and Twitter, etc.) on vaccine confidence using machine learning and big data analysis, they cannot track the subject’s behavior due to the barrier of data privacy, so the existing research is only remaining at the intention level. In other words, the link to behavior change remains unknown, but its result could be more catastrophic.
This research will link measuring behavior change and evaluate a user-centric participatory digital intervention. We will conduct a comparison study in the UK and China, mapping the demographic factors with individual’s vaccinate behavior affected by social media and matching with the social factors, and the features of the susceptible population will be shown to provide reference for intervention measures to reduce the impact of negative anti-vaccine message for targeted high-risk population. Both of the countries selected here share striking similarities in low vaccine confidence and high social media penetration, but with quite different socioeconomic and cultural background.
The objectives of this research are: 1. Understanding the impact of social media on human behavior towards rephrase vaccinate. 2. Assessing high-risk population and finding out the demographic and social factors (socioeconomic level and literacy level etc.) which will have an influence on people’s behavior choice towards vaccinating after receiving anti-vaccine messages through social media 3. Developing intervention measures towards the targeted high-risk population to reduce the negative influence of anti-vaccine messages through social media.