Communication on Vaccines on Twitter of Journalists Specialized in Health: Types of Messages and Engagement

Miguel Martín Cárdaba, Rafael Carrasco Polaino and Ubaldo Cuesta Cambra
Universidad Complutense Cif. Q2818014-I Avda. Séneca. 28040 Madrid Proyecto Mineco Rti2018-097670-B-I00


Vaccines are one of the most important medical advances in history both for their effectiveness and for their safety. However, despite everything, there are anti-vaccine communities that publicly discuss the dangers of vaccines and the number of people who question their effectiveness is still very high. This lack of confidence in vaccines is a health problem because it causes less immunization and greater vulnerability to certain diseases. Therefore, it is especially relevant to find communication tools that help share the benefits of vaccines, as well as combat misinformation about them. Nowadays, with the new technological changes, social networks are one of the main scenarios in which the conversations between the different pro and anti-vaccine actors take place. The objective of this research was to study the content of the communication about vaccines carried out by members of the main Spanish Association of Journalist Specialized in Health (ANIS) through Twitter. Specifically, Tweets (both the type of message and its format) made during the last year by ANIS associates were studied, to subsequently analyze the engagement generated by the different types of messages. We concluded that different contents or formats generate different types of engagement. Our data will improve the way of communicating through Twitter and will allow to optimize this channel of communication also increasing the dissemination of positive messages.