Under the assumption that nations in the global South are welcoming and in need of vaccines, and given years of massive immunization campaigns championed by international organizations, misinformation on vaccines has been understudied in Latin America. However, the current pandemic has spread along with misleading information regarding treatments to control the virus, bringing to the forefront debates about a possible vaccine. Drawing on the case of Colombia, this study aims to identify the different types of information and misinformation circulating on social media regarding a Covid-19 vaccine to better understand how contradictory information can influence future immunization campaigns. The proposed research specifically asks: What are the main contents and debates circulating on Twitter and Facebook about immunization against Covid-19? How does this information change over time as efforts to produce a vaccine progress? And how do social media users interact with Covid-19 vaccine information and misinformation? To answer these questions, we propose a mixed-methods research design that combines text mining and a nationally representative online survey. We will study Colombia-based tweets and Facebook posts that focus on political debates, public-health policies, scientific developments, and rumors. The survey will collect information from a nationally representative sample to assess to what extent citizens’ opinions align with social media content and the political attitudes that characterize them. By recognizing Covid-19 immunization discourses on social media and how they influence citizens’ views of a potential long-term solution to the virus, our results shed light on future challenges to vaccination plans.
Juan Carlos Rodriguez-Raga
Associate Professor, Universidad de los Andes