How did Chinese public health authorities promote COVID-19 vaccination on social media? A content analysis of the vaccination promotion posts

Chen Luo, Runtao Dai, Yuying Deng*, Anfan Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Drawing upon the health belief model, this study aims to analyze the message characteristics of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination promotion messages posted by influential Chinese public health institutions and how those characteristics affect audiences’ participative engagement on Weibo, which is a popular social media site in China. 

Methods: Two Chinese phrases for the COVID-19 vaccine were adopted as search terms to retrieve qualified posts on Weibo from 1 December 2019 to 18 March 2023. A total of 2546 posts by the top nine most impactful public health institutions were retained for quantitative content analysis. Message characteristics derived from the health belief model and participative engagement indicators were coded by the authors. 

Results: Among health belief model constructs, the collective-oriented constructs (i.e., benefits, cues to action, and susceptibility) appeared in almost half of the posts, while the individual-oriented constructs (i.e., barriers, self-efficacy, and severity) were mentioned less. Moreover, negative binomial regression models revealed that collective-oriented constructs and self-efficacy facilitated engagement, while other constructs played impeding roles. 

Conclusions: Appearances and functions of the health belief model's constructs in the COVID-19 vaccination promotion context are closely associated with China's collectivistic culture. Furthermore, constructs conforming to people's psychological traits are likely to promote public engagement and may facilitate vaccination behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalDigital Health
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Information Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • COVID-19 vaccination
  • health belief model
  • public health authorities
  • participative engagement
  • content analysis

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