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A Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data Related to Blood Clots and Vaccines

Management School, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK
Health Promotion in Rural Areas Research Group, Gerència Territorial de la Catalunya Central, Institut Català de la Salut, 08772 Sant Fruitós de Bages, Spain
Unitat de Suport a la Recerca de la Catalunya Central, Fundació Institut Universitari per a la Recerca a l’Atenció Primària de Salut Jordi Gol i Gurina, 08772 Sant Fruitós de Bages, Spain
Faculty of Medicine, University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia, 08500 Vic, Spain
Primary Care Service, Althaia Xarxa Assistencial Universitària de Manresa, 08243 Manresa, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maria Rosaria Gualano
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4584;
Received: 24 February 2022 / Revised: 29 March 2022 / Accepted: 9 April 2022 / Published: 11 April 2022

What are the main findings?

  • Twitter users conversed about blood clots in relation to COVID-19 vaccine and the odds of suffering from a blood clot.
  • Social media platforms are sources of health information and can have a considerable influence on health decision-making.
  • Several influential users across disciplines were influential in driving the key narratives and popular messages.

What is the implication of the main finding?

  • The study highlights the positive role of social media in educating the general public with timely and factual information.
  • Social media can have a crucial role in disseminating health information and tackling infodemics and misinformation.
  • Mainstream media and influential public figures can serve as valuable sources of information on social networks.
  • The study is likely to be of interest to health authorities, governments, and stakeholders that are involved in vaccination programs.
After the first weeks of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2, several cases of acute thrombosis were reported. These news reports began to be shared frequently across social media platforms. The aim of this study was to conduct an analysis of Twitter data related to the overall discussion. The data were retrieved from 14 March to 14 April 2021 using the keyword ‘blood clots’. A dataset with n = 266,677 tweets was retrieved, and a systematic random sample of 5% of tweets (n = 13,334) was entered into NodeXL for further analysis. Social network analysis was used to analyse the data by drawing upon the Clauset–Newman–Moore algorithm. Influential users were identified by drawing upon the betweenness centrality measure. Text analysis was applied to identify the key hashtags and websites used at this time. More than half of the network comprised retweets, and the largest groups within the network were broadcast clusters in which a number of key users were retweeted. The most popular narratives involved highlighting the low risk of obtaining a blood clot from a vaccine and highlighting that a number of commonly consumed medicine have higher blood clot risks. A wide variety of users drove the discussion on Twitter, including writers, physicians, the general public, academics, celebrities, and journalists. Twitter was used to highlight the low potential of developing a blood clot from vaccines, and users on Twitter encouraged vaccinations among the public. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; Twitter; blood clots; social media; clots COVID-19; Twitter; blood clots; social media; clots
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ahmed, W.; Vidal-Alaball, J.; Vilaseca, J.M. A Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data Related to Blood Clots and Vaccines. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 4584.

AMA Style

Ahmed W, Vidal-Alaball J, Vilaseca JM. A Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data Related to Blood Clots and Vaccines. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(8):4584.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ahmed, Wasim, Josep Vidal-Alaball, and Josep M. Vilaseca. 2022. "A Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data Related to Blood Clots and Vaccines" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 8: 4584.

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