Original Research

Exploring public perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine online from a cultural perspective: Semantic network analysis of two social media platforms in the United States and China

December 2021

This study takes a cultural sensitivity perspective and adopts two well-known social media platforms in the United States (Twitter) and China (Weibo) to conduct a public perception comparison around the COVID-19 vaccine. By implementing semantic network analysis, results demonstrate that the two countries’ social media users overlapped in themes concerning domestic vaccination policies, priority groups, challenges from COVID-19 variants and the global pandemic situation. However, Twitter users were more like to explain their own vaccination experiences, while Weibo users tended to defer to authority and were more positive in regards to the vaccine. The article argues that public perception of the COVID-19 vaccine is directly associated with vaccine compliance and vaccination coverage; cultural tendencies inform both perceptions.