Commentary

Vaccine News Sees Notable Distribution On Social Media

The effort to prevent people from contracting COVID-19 this year has included multiple publicity campaigns that tout the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Amid this messaging blitz, many Americans get news and information about vaccines through social media, a survey found. The data underscores the potential for misinformation about vaccines to spread online.

Almost half of U.S. adults said they got some (30%) or a lot (18%) of news and information about vaccines on social media, according to Pew Research Center. The remaining half (51%) said they had received not much news or none at all through the digital platforms.

Only 6% of survey respondents said social media was the most important way to keep up with news about vaccines, while another 33% said it was an important way. A majority of people (60%) don’t consider social media a significant source of vaccine news, including 31% who don’t get any information about treatments on social media.
People who regularly get news from social media tended to see the most information about vaccines on those sites. Facebook is most popular with 31% of people saying they often see news on the social network, ahead of YouTube (22%), Twitter (13%), Instagram (11%), Reddit (7%), TikTok (6%), Snapchat (4%) and LinkedIn (4%).
While Snapchat’s regular news audience is slim, its users are most likely to describe social media as an important way to follow vaccine news (79%). That percentage is greater than for TikTok (77%), Instagram (75%), Twitter (71%), Facebook (67%), LinkedIn (66%), YouTube (61%) and Reddit (60%), according to Pew.
The findings suggest that social media play an important role in distributing accurate news and information about vaccines, especially among younger people who are least likely to have received a jab.

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