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Vaccination as a Control Tool in Bovine Tuberculosis: Social Media Monitoring to Assess Public Response to Government Policy Development and Implementation


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Vaccines (Basel). 2021 Mar 29;9(4):314. doi: 10.3390/vaccines9040314.


Vaccine hesitancy does not only concern human vaccines but incorporates One Health policies also; including vaccination of cattle and badgers as part of the government’s bovine tuberculosis eradication strategy for England. Both digital and social media can propagate healthcare misinformation and thus affect vaccine policy support. The use of social media monitoring to understand real-time public perceptions of One Health policies is crucial to identify misinformation and address public concerns appropriately to achieve successful policy implementation. Digital and social media data surrounding two government announcements regarding the bovine tuberculosis eradication strategy for England were collected and screened using the Meltwater media monitoring platform. Communication patterns were studied using InfraNodus. Twitter analysis was conducted to identify key influencers, public engagement, and trending communications. Online social media activity increased rapidly after each announcement. Initially, badger culling took primary public concern and major influencers were identified. Cattle vaccination dominated discussion after the second announcement, with public perception being influenced by increased online activity from news sites, animal welfare charities, governmental bodies, and medical professionals. The greatest ambiguity towards the strategy was detected within farming communities, with the main disparity existing between cattle vaccination and badger culling opinions. Social media monitoring has potential use in surveying public perception of government policy, both prior to, and after implementation to identify and address areas of miscommunication and misinformation to improve public support for One Health policies.

PMID:33805272 | DOI:10.3390/vaccines9040314


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