Influencing Policy and Research: Paper on Vaccine Hesitancy Finds a Place in the President's Economic Report

May 03, 2023

We are thrilled to share the news that our paper "Online Misinformation is Linked to Early COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy and Refusal" has been included in the 2023 Economic Report of the U.S. President. Adding to its accolades, this paper has also been recognized by Scientific Reports as one of the top 100 articles in 2022.

Authored by Pierri, Perry, DeVerna, Yang, Flammini, Menczer, and Bryden, this paper delves into the relationship between online misinformation and the early hesitancy and refusal of COVID-19 vaccination. Widespread vaccine uptake is crucial for achieving herd immunity, but we observed variations in uptake rates across U.S. states during the initial six months of the vaccination program. Our work revealed a negative relationship between online misinformation and vaccination uptake rates. Furthermore, these associations remain significant even after accounting for political, demographic, and socioeconomic factors.

Our work underscores the sensitivity of public opinion to the information ecosystem, with sensational posts spreading widely and rapidly. Associations between online misinformation and the detrimental offline effects presented in our paper call for improved moderation of the information ecosystem. COVID-19 misinformation is often overtly shared by known entities on major social media platforms. While we acknowledge the importance of constitutional rights to free speech, it is equally vital to maintain an environment where individuals have access to accurate and reliable information that bolsters public health.