Online misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines is associated with low vaccination rates in parts of the United States, according to a paper published April 26 by IU’s Observatory on social media researchers and the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy.
In 2021, the Observatory on Social Media set up the team CoVaxxy, a public dashboard that visualizes data on Twitter misinformation and vaccination rates. Tweets with links to sources of low credibility were classified as misinformation, and hesitation with vaccines was measured through Facebook surveys and vaccination rates at the state and county levels, according to News at IU.
According to the newspaper, survey responses from 22 million people found that 40 to 47% of American adults are reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The newspaper also found that the hesitation with vaccines was correlated with high percentages of Republican voters and black residents. Director of the Observatory for Social Media, Filippo Menczer, said that historical differences in the treatment of black and white Americans in the health care system may have contributed to the hesitation with vaccines, according to News at IU.
Along with these groups, the newspaper found that women were also more likely to be hesitant about the vaccine.
The authors of the article were Francesco Pierri, a postdoc researcher from the Polytechnic University of Milan, Matthew R. DeVerna, Kai-Cheng Yang and Alessandro Flammini from the Observatory on Social Media and Brea L. Perry from the College of Arts and Sciences.