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Article

A Social Network Analysis of Tweets Related to Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination in Poland

1
Faculty of Humanities, AGH University of Science and Technology, Gramatyka 8a, 30-071 Kraków, Poland
2
Center for Collective Intelligence, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 245 First Street, E94, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
3
Faculty of Health Sciences, Institute of Public Health, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Skawinska 8 Street, 31-066 Kraków, Poland
4
Department of Mathematics, Cracow University of Economics, Rakowicka 27, 31-510 Kraków, Poland
5
Stirling University Management School, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giuseppe La Torre
Vaccines 2022, 10(5), 750; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10050750
Received: 31 December 2021 / Revised: 30 April 2022 / Accepted: 6 May 2022 / Published: 10 May 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insight in Vaccination and Public Health)
Poland’s efforts to combat COVID-19 were hindered by endemic vaccination hesitancy and the prevalence of opponents to pandemic restrictions. In this environment, the policy of a COVID-19 vaccination mandate faces strong resistance in the public debate. Exploring the discourse around this resistance could help uncover the motives and develop an understanding of vaccination hesitancy in Poland. This paper aims to conduct a social network analysis and content analysis of Twitter discussions around the intention of the Polish Ministry of Health to introduce mandatory vaccinations for COVID-19. Twitter was chosen as a platform to study because of the critical role it played during the global health crisis. Twitter data were retrieved from 26 July to 9 December 2021 through the API v2 for Academic Research, and analysed using NodeXL and Gephi. When conducting social network analysis, nodes were ranked by their betweenness centrality. Clustering analysis with the Clauset–Newman–Moore algorithm revealed two important groups of users: advocates and opponents of mandatory vaccination. The temporal trends of tweets, the most used hashtags, the sentiment expressed in the most popular tweets, and correlations with epidemiological data were also studied. The results reveal a substantial degree of polarisation, a high intensity of the discussion, and a high degree of involvement of Twitter users. Vaccination mandate advocates were consistently more numerous, but less engaged and less mobilised to “preach” their own stances. Vaccination mandate opponents were vocal and more mobilised to participate: either as original authors or as information diffusers. Our research leads to the conclusion that systematic monitoring of the public debate on vaccines is essential not only in counteracting misinformation, but also in crafting evidence-based as well as emotionally motivating narratives. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; mandatory vaccination; vaccination hesitancy; social network analysis; social media; Twitter debate; Poland COVID-19; mandatory vaccination; vaccination hesitancy; social network analysis; social media; Twitter debate; Poland
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MDPI and ACS Style

Olszowski, R.; Zabdyr-Jamróz, M.; Baran, S.; Pięta, P.; Ahmed, W. A Social Network Analysis of Tweets Related to Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination in Poland. Vaccines 2022, 10, 750. https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10050750

AMA Style

Olszowski R, Zabdyr-Jamróz M, Baran S, Pięta P, Ahmed W. A Social Network Analysis of Tweets Related to Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination in Poland. Vaccines. 2022; 10(5):750. https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10050750

Chicago/Turabian Style

Olszowski, Rafał, Michał Zabdyr-Jamróz, Sebastian Baran, Piotr Pięta, and Wasim Ahmed. 2022. "A Social Network Analysis of Tweets Related to Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination in Poland" Vaccines 10, no. 5: 750. https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10050750

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