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Social media can help in tackling vaccine hesitancy, finds study

Social media can help in tackling vaccine hesitancy, finds study

London: A study by the Loughborough University researchers, UK found that while one in three adults in the UK intends to use social media and personal messaging to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, almost one in 10 using the same platforms tend to discourage people from vaccination.

The new research is based on an October 2020 survey of 5,114 UK adults that explored how people's attitudes and their consumption of Covid-19 news is linked to their responses towards vaccination.

The study published in the journal Social Media and Society also revealed that around 57 per cent were undecided on if or how they will endorse the vaccines online.

"Vaccine hesitancy is a longstanding problem, but it has assumed great urgency due to the pandemic. We know that people's media diets provide them with the information they share online, and we know online endorsement can make a difference to people's attitudes and decisions," said Andrew Chadwick, a professor at the university.

"Our findings suggest that when people gain a broad perspective, from a range of different media and information sources, they gather evidence and are more likely to positively endorse vaccination online. This is good news for collective public health," Chadwick added.

The Research team identified 'media diets' for accessing information about Covid-19 among the UK public. This tool was then linked to vaccine hesitancy using 2 key attitudes namely, conspiracy mentality -- which is the hostile distrust of public authorities based on the false belief that secret organisations influence political decisions - and the 'news finds me' perception -- where people give very little priority to active monitoring of news and rely more on their online networks for information.

"Avoiding news and having a 'news-finds-me' attitude is perhaps most troubling, because this combination of factors links with the online discouragement of others from taking the vaccine," Chadwick said.


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TAGS:Social mediavaccine hesitancyUKCovid Updates
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