Nav: Home

Using social media to understand the vaccine debate in China

February 25, 2020

THE SITUATION

Vaccine acceptance is a crucial public health issue, which has been exacerbated by the use of social media to spread content expressing vaccine hesitancy. Studies have shown that social media can provide new information regarding the dynamics of vaccine communication online, potentially affecting real-world vaccine behaviors.

A team of United States-based researchers observed an example of this in 2018 related to the Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology vaccine incident in China. The researchers found:
  • Expressions of distrust in government pertaining to vaccines increased significantly during and immediately after the incident.
  • Self-reports of vaccination changed from positive endorsements of vaccination to concerns about vaccine harms.
  • Expressed support for vaccine acceptance in China may be decreasing.
FROM THE RESEARCHER:

"The World Health Organization identified vaccine hesitancy as one of their top 10 challenges of 2019. When combined with virulent illnesses, such as COVID-19 or influenza, small changes in vaccination rates could spell the difference between smaller, contained outbreaks and a worldwide pandemic. Governments and public health agencies around the world need to prioritize health communication efforts. Even the safest and most effective vaccine is useless if people refuse to take it." -- David Broniatowski, associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering at the George Washington University.

CONCLUSIONS

The new study, "Chinese Social Media Suggest Decreased Vaccine Acceptance in China: An Observational Study on Weibo Following the 2018 Changchun Changsheng Vaccine Incident," highlights the dangers of public perception of even a single vaccine safety incident, according to the researchers.

The team also believes the possible emergence of vaccine opposition in China is a potential cause for concern, especially considering the density of several large Chinese population centers.

2018 VACCINE INCIDENT IN CHINA

In July 2018, Chinese government inspectors determined that Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology, a prominent manufacturer of vaccines in China, had violated national regulations and standards when producing 250,000 rabies vaccine doses. The violation might have undermined the effectiveness of the involved vaccines. News began slowly escalating on Chinese social media platforms not long after the incident.
-end-
PUBLICATION INFORMATION

The study was published this week in the journal Vaccine. Dr. Broniatowski is available for interviews to discuss the findings.

Chinese Social Media Suggest Decreased Vaccine Acceptance in China: An Observational Study on Weibo Following the 2018 Changchun Changsheng Vaccine Incident https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X20302243

George Washington University

Related Social Media Articles:

Social grooming factors influencing social media civility on COVID-19
A new study analyzing tweets about COVID-19 found that users with larger social networks tend to use fewer uncivil remarks when they have more positive responses from others.
Using social media to understand the vaccine debate in China
Vaccine acceptance is a crucial public health issue, which has been exacerbated by the use of social media to spread content expressing vaccine hesitancy.
Vaccine misinformation and social media
People who rely on social media for information were more likely to be misinformed about vaccines than those who rely on traditional media, according to a study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
How social media makes breakups that much worse
Even those who use Facebook features like unfriending, unfollowing, blocking and Take a Break still experience troubling encounters with ex-partners online, a new study shows.
Teens must 'get smart' about social media
New research indicates that social media is leading young adolescent girls and boys down a worrying path towards developing body image issues and eating disorder behaviours - even though they are smartphone savvy.
Social media use and disordered eating in young adolescents
New research published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders suggests that social media, particularly platforms with a strong focus on image posting and viewing, is associated with disordered eating in young adolescents.
STD crowd-diagnosis requests on social media
Online postings seeking information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on the social media website Reddit were analyzed to see how often requests were made for a crowd-diagnosis and whether the requested diagnosis was for a second opinion after seeing a health care professional.
Cynical social media voices can erode trust in news media
Amid rising concerns about low public trust in mainstream media institutions, a Rutgers study found that real-life and online social interactions can strongly influence a person's trust in newspaper, TV and online journalism -- but when it comes to online interactions, cynical views are the most influential.
Social media use by adolescents linked to internalizing behaviors
A new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media are more likely to report high levels of internalizing behaviors compared to adolescents who do not use social media at all.
Social media stress can lead to social media addiction
Social network users risk becoming more and more addicted to social media platforms even as they experience stress from their use.
More Social Media News and Social Media Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.