Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social media utilization, influences related to parental vaccine decision making, and opinions on trustworthy social media vaccination campaigns: A qualitative analysis.

Publication date: Dec 31, 2024

There is a continued need for research to better understand the influence social media has on parental vaccination attitudes and behaviors, especially research capturing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of this study was to explore parents’ perspectives related to the impact the pandemic had on 1) social media engagement, 2) vaccine messaging on social media, and 3) factors to guide future intervention development. Between February and March 2022, 6 online, synchronous, text-based focus groups were conducted with parents of adolescents aged 11 to 17 years. Participants who all utilized social media were recruited from across the United States. Qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis. A total of 64 parents participated. Average age was 47 years, and participants were predominantly White (71. 9%), female (84. 3%), and engaged with social media multiple times per day (51. 6%). Participants (95. 3%) viewed obtaining all recommended vaccines as important or very important; however, overall vaccination rates for their adolescents were varied (50% ≥1 dose HPV; 59. 4% MenACWY; 78. 1% Tdap; 65. 6% Flu; 81. 3% COVID-19). Three themes emerged highlighting the pandemic’s impact on parent’s (1) general patterns of social media use, (2) engagement about vaccines on social media and off-line behaviors related to vaccination, and (3) perspectives for developing a credible and trustworthy social media intervention about vaccination. Participants reported fatigue from contentious vaccine-related content on social media and desired future messaging to be from recognizable health institutions/associations with links to reputable resources. Plus, providers should continue to provide strong vaccine recommendations in clinic.

Concepts Keywords
February Adolescent vaccination
Online COVID-19 pandemic
Pandemic credibility
Vaccination social media
vaccine messaging


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease VO vaccine
disease VO vaccination
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide
disease IDO intervention
disease VO dose
disease VO TDAP

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