COVID-19 Anti-Vaccine Sentiments: Analyses of Comments from Social Media

Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Nov 9;9(11):1530. doi: 10.3390/healthcare9111530.


Purpose: This study analyzed the insights and sentiments of COVID-19 anti-vaccine comments from Instagram feeds and Facebook postings. The sentiments related to the acceptance and effectiveness of the vaccines that were on the verge of being made available to the public.

Patients and methods: The qualitative software QSR-NVivo 10 was used to manage, code, and analyse the data.

Results: The analyses uncovered several major issues concerning COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. The production of the COVID-19 vaccine at an unprecedented speed evoked the fear of skipping steps that would compromise vaccine safety. The unknown long-term effects and duration of protection erode confidence in taking the vaccines. There were also persistent concerns with regard to vaccine compositions that could be harmful or contain aborted foetal cells. The rate of COVID-19 death was viewed as low. Many interpreted the 95% effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine as insufficient. Preference for immunity gains from having an infection was viewed as more effective. Peer-reviewed publication-based data were favoured as a source of trust in vaccination decision-making.

Conclusions: The anti-COVID-19 vaccine sentiments found in this study provide important insights for the formulation of public health messages to instill confidence in the vaccines.

Keywords: antivaccine; social media; vaccine hesitancy.