Using social media for vaccination promotion: practices and challenges

Maryke S. Steffens*, Adam G. Dunn, Julie Leask, Kerrie E. Wiley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
141 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Vaccination misinformation is widespread on social media. Vaccine-promoting organisations are working to curb its influence, but face obstacles. We aimed to analyse their social media strategies and the challenges they encounter. Methods: In this qualitative study, we purposively sampled 21 participants responsible for social media from vaccine-promoting organisations. We used Framework Analysis to explore the data. Results: Vaccine-promoting organisations faced obstacles using social media, including fast-paced change, limited resources, and insufficient organisational buy-in. They experienced difficulties reaching audiences, exploiting social media listening, and measuring impact. Consequently, they may miss opportunities to counter misinformation, connect with groups low in vaccine confidence, and determine diverse audience responses. They lack strong evidence linking social media strategies with behaviour change, and have difficulty understanding silent audiences. Conclusions: Vaccine-promoting organisations have an opportunity to embrace the participatory nature of social media. They could share listening insights with like-minded groups, and conduct research exploring associations between social media strategies and community attitude/behaviour change. Social media platforms could assist by renewing vaccine-promoting organisations' organic reach, supporting the development of tailored listening and credibility tools, and strengthening collaborations to promote credible content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalDigital Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • communications media
  • health communication
  • health promotion
  • immunisation
  • public health
  • Qualitative research
  • social media
  • vaccination
  • vaccines


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