Among the most relevant events in the U.S. vaccination conversation was a note published by the CDC in early March stating that fully vaccinated people can visit indoors with other fully vaccinated people or low-risk individuals, noting that they could do so without masks or socially distancing, but also that should still wear masks in public. This news had a deep impact on the pro-vaccination Political Authorities community.
APRIL CONVERSATION UPDATE
In mid-March, the pro-vaccine At-Risk and Disabled community was very active following the notification that Denmark suspended use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine following concerns over potentially dangerous side effects. This announcement caused the Anti-vaccination Journalists & Critics community to take on increased relevance as well.
At the beginning of April, the pro-vaccination Scientists and Specialized Journalists community greatly increased its activity, with many posts appearing from people who received their second shots without experiencing side effects. On the contrary, many reported feeling calm and experiencing no discomfort. The Political Authorities community supported these publications with comments of its own, remarking that “One of the most serious side effects of the vaccine is realizing that free healthcare is amazing.”
April 13, the FDA published that it “recommends pausing Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to reports of blood clots.” This news generated a major peak in the conversation, with more than 133,000 accounts discussing it. This spike was 600% above the average, which is around 20,000 conversations. The Anti-vaccination Journalists & Critics community accounted for almost 22% of the conversation, taking the announcement as “evidence” of the health damages caused by the COVID-19 vaccines. The Scientists and Specialized Journalists and Political Authorities communities were also very active at this time, accounting for 31% of the conversation as they tried to give explanations and reassurance to people regarding this decision to help ensure the panic did not spread.
Five days later, the conversation had returned to its normal state, with an average of 20,000 posts on this topic. There was more discussion around the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 23, when the FDA lifted its pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine following a safety review. The conversation grew to 42,000 active publications, which is just 30% of what it was on April 13.
In late April, the publications that resonated most were those explaining the benefits of being fully vaccinated, which include being able to go outdoors or be around other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask, or safely visit churches, gyms, bars, and restaurants while masked.
Between March and April, the community conversation volume changed as follows:
- Anti-vaccination grew 6.78%.
- Pro-vaccination grew 8.35%.
- Hispanics grew 0.80%.
- Neutral communities decreased by 16.20%.
This graph represents the communities as circular masses to depict their relative sizes and relationships. For example, the Hispanic community has mostly moved into the Pro-vaccination group since March 1 thanks to the enormous influence of the Scientists & Specialized Journalists and Political Authorities communities, but Hispanics who have remained in the Anti-vaccination community have increased their number of posts. This has meant there are now only two clearly defined groups: Pro-vaccination and Anti-vaccination. Although there is still a group of uncertain people taking part in all conversations, they are now more likely to be vaccinated.