Have Your Say! Malaysian X (Twitter) Users Speak Their Minds About COVID-19 Vaccination

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Nor Eisya Shabila Ismail
Su-Hie Ting


In this study, Malaysian X (formerly Twitter) users’ views were examined on COVID-19 vaccination. The specific objectives were to identify issues that were important to X users, and identify changes in views on COVID-19 vaccination. Tweets were collected from 1 January to 31 December 2021; altogether 5,766 tweets (199,900 words) were collected, and 150 tweets (5,200 words) were systematically selected for analysis. Thematic analysis showed that the tweets were more concerned about administration of the COVID-19 vaccine (56.7%) than its impact (35.3%) or COVID-19 control measures (8%). Positive sentiments increased during the 12 months. In Phase 1 (1 January–23 February 2021), the public were uncertain and sceptical while waiting for vaccination. In Phase 2 (24 February–24 September 2021) when vaccination was underway, the tweets reflected an informed stance, and X users were even proactive in promoting vaccination benefits and correcting misinformation. By Phase 3 (25 September–31 December 2021) when vaccination for teenagers and s booster shot program began, there was a dilemma of wanting to return to normal life vis-à-vis prioritizing health and safety. The study data indicated more anti- than pro-vaccination tweets, but the X community had self-correcting mechanisms when vaccine hesitancy surfaced.

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