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In Journal of medical Internet research ; h5-index 88.0

BACKGROUND : Social media and digital technologies have played an essential role in disseminating information and promoting vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic. It needs to summarize the applications and analytical techniques of social media and digital technologies in monitoring vaccine attitudes and administering COVID-19 vaccines.

OBJECTIVE : To synthesize the global evidence on the applications of social media and digital technologies in COVID-19 vaccination and to explore their avenues to promote COVID-19 vaccination.

METHODS : We searched six databases (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Embase, EBSCO, and IEEE Xplore) for English-language articles from December 2019 to August 2022. The search terms covered keywords relating to social media, digital technology, and COVID-19 vaccine. Articles were included if they provide original descriptions on applications of social media or digital health technologies/solutions in COVID-19 vaccination. Conference abstract, editorial, letter, commentary, correspondence, study protocol, and review were excluded. A modified version of the Appraisal tool for Cross-Sectional Studies was used to evaluate the quality of social media-related studies. The review was undertaken with the guidance of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews.

RESULTS : A total of 178 articles were included in our review, including 114 social media articles and 64 digital technology articles. Social media has been applied for sentiment/emotion analysis, topic analysis, behavioral analysis, dissemination and engagement analysis, and information quality analysis around COVID-19 vaccination. Of these, sentiment analysis and topic analysis were the most applied, with social media data being primarily analyzed by lexicon-based and machine learning techniques. The accuracy and reliability of information on social media seriously affect public attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccine and misinformation often leads to vaccine hesitancy. Digital technologies have been applied to determine the COVID-19 vaccination strategy, predict the vaccination process, optimize vaccine distribution and delivery, provide safe and transparent vaccination certificates, and post-vaccination surveillance. The applied digital technologies included algorithms, blockchain, mHealth, IoT, and other technologies, although with some barriers to their popularization.

CONCLUSIONS : The application of social media and digital technologies in addressing COVID-19 vaccination-related issues represent an irreversible trend. Attention should be paid to the ethical issues and health inequities arising from the digital divide while applying and promoting these technologies.


Zang Shujie, Zhang Xu, Xing Yuting, Chen Jiaxian, Lin Leesa, Hou Zhiyuan