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The Impact of Tweets, Mandates, Hesitancy and Partisanship on Vaccination Rates
This study aims to carry out a cross sectional study of how a state’s majority political affiliation, vaccine hesitancy and exposure to misinformed news on social media affects overall vaccination rates. The target country in this study is the United States of America and the granularity of data used is on a state level. Analysis is conducted using a fusion of information from various data sources such as CDC, US Census, Twitter API. Specifically, vaccination rates are taken from CDC, hesitancy rates from US Census, the state’s political affiliation from past elections, and social media misinformation from twitter feeds.
The three main study research findings are summarised as follows. First, the findings show the strong correlation between political party affiliation and vaccination rates/vaccine hesitancy rates. As a corollary, there is also a strong negative correlation between vaccination hesitancy and vaccination rates. Second state-wide vaccination mandates typically increased the vaccination rates. Interestingly, states without a state-wide mandate had similar vaccination/vaccine hesitancy rates as states who had banned the state-wide mandates. Finally, the paper shows there will always be a baseline of misinformation in social media articles. However when either (1) the average retweet or (2) the average number of followers reached per tweet crosses a certain critical mass, it will adversely affect the vaccination rate of a state. This suggests that eradicating all misinformation from social media will be counterproductive, rather it is more critical to curtail misinformation before they reach a critical mass.
Journal/Conference/Book titleSocial Computing and Social Media: Design, User Experience and Impact 14th International Conference, SCSM 2022, Held as Part of the 24th HCI International Conference, HCII 2022, Virtual Event, June 26 – July 1, 2022, Proceedings, Part I