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With an aim to know why people refuse vaccination, the US researchers have started a study that will draw partly on tweets as people tend to freely share their fears and concerns about vaccines on the microblogging site, particularly the Twitter.
The study comes at the backdrop of the severity of the current flu seasons, as well as recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses such as measles in the US. The study is expected to help more people, especially younger urban minorities, participate in vaccination efforts.
David Broniatowski, assistant professor at the George Washington University said, they got the idea after realizing that people really do tweet about everything, and conversations about vaccines are no exception.
Broniatowski pointed out that parents and patients freely share their fears and concerns about vaccines. While it typically takes years to collect meaningful information about why people refuse vaccines, using surveys and searching Twitter brings immediate results.
Those connected with the study said, it will involve a combination of Twitter searches and conventional survey approaches to evaluate the reasons for vaccine refusal, and analyze variations in refusal patterns between different demographics and communities.
The researchers, moreover, pointed out the data is likely to offer a diverse representation of different demographics. They said, that the study will be useful in helping health officials to respond more quickly to the next outbreak, and will expedite necessary research into vaccine refusal and hesitancy.