The understanding of the public response to COVID-19 vaccines is the key success factor to control the COVID-19 pandemic. To understand the public response, there is a need to explore public opinion. Traditional surveys are expensive and time-consuming, address limited health topics, and obtain small-scale data. Twitter can provide a great opportunity to understand public opinion regarding COVID-19 vaccines. The current study proposes an approach using computational and human coding methods to collect and analyze a large number of tweets to provide a wider perspective on the COVID-19 vaccine. This study identifies the sentiment of tweets using a machine learning rule-based approach, discovers major topics, explores temporal trend and compares topics of negative and non-negative tweets using statistical tests, and discloses top topics of tweets having negative and non-negative sentiment. Our findings show that the negative sentiment regarding the COVID-19 vaccine had a decreasing trend between November 2020 and February 2021. We found Twitter users have discussed a wide range of topics from vaccination sites to the 2020 U.S. election between November 2020 and February 2021. The findings show that there was a significant difference between tweets having negative and non-negative sentiment regarding the weight of most topics. Our results also indicate that the negative and non-negative tweets had different topic priorities and focuses. This research illustrates that Twitter data can be used to explore public opinion regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Vaccines, Volume 9, Issue 10, 2021.
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
Karami, A., Zhu, M., Goldschmidt, B., Boyajieff, H. R., & Najafabadi, M. M. (2021). COVID-19 Vaccine and Social Media in the US: Exploring Emotions and Discussions on Twitter. Vaccines, 9(10), 1059. https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9101059