Infectious content: online misinformation and vaccine confidence in UK parents

Year of award: 2019


  • Catherine Joynes-Burgess

    University of Oxford

Project summary

Vaccines help protect children from catching diseases such as measles but some parents in the UK have begun to doubt whether they are necessary or safe. I want to understand how far parents who choose not to vaccinate their children may have been influenced by posts they have seen on social media or messaging apps such as WhatsApp which claim vaccines are unsafe or unnecessary. 

I will analyse public social media posts about vaccines and recruit a group of UK parents to be interviewed and join discussion groups. They will share how they feel about vaccines and present content they have seen on social media and messaging apps which may have affected their attitudes to immunisation. 

By better understanding the influence of social media on parental views on vaccination, my research will help inform policy to provide more accessible, verified information about vaccines through online channels.