Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Social media's effect on vaccination rates

Jaffe, Rachel (2019) Social media's effect on vaccination rates. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

[img] Microsoft Word
Submitted Version

Download (2MB)


Background: Vaccines have contributed significantly to public health by protecting against deadly diseases. However, vaccination coverage for many preventable diseases is declining. A major contributor to the decline in vaccination coverage is people who oppose vaccinations, also known as anti-vaxxers. Many anti-vaxxers use social media to spread false information about vaccines. This literature review focuses on how vaccination coverage has been impacted by social media.
Methods: A PubMed search was conducted using the search term “social media impact on vaccination rates.” All references for articles found were scanned for relevance and were followed up. Articles excluded were those published before 2004 and not written in English. Using these criteria, 18 articles qualified for this literature review.
Results: A debunked article published in 1998 impacted parents’ decisions to vaccinate their children by claiming that there is a causal link between vaccines and autism. However, social media spreads more than the falsehood that the MMR vaccine causes autism. Social media directly impacts vaccination rates for not only MMR but for other vaccines. Twitter can estimate vaccine coverage by analyzing tweets regarding vaccination. Additionally, Facebook groups against vaccines are very common and help spread false information about vaccines. Studies have shown that Instagram and YouTube can have a positive effect on vaccination rates.
Conclusion: Understanding the public health significance of how social media spreads false information about vaccinations is extremely important. Public health officials and social media pages can work together to combat the spread of false information and improve vaccination rates.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMartinson, Jeremyjmartins@pitt.edujmartinsUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberTerry, Marthamaterry@pitt.edumaterryUNSPECIFIED
Date: 15 December 2019
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 34
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2020 17:35
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2020 17:35


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item