Winds of Change: Impact of COVID-19 on Vaccine-related Opinions of Twitter users

by   Soham Poddar, et al.

Administering COVID-19 vaccines at a societal scale has been deemed as the most appropriate way to defend against the COVID-19 pandemic. This global vaccination drive naturally fueled a possibility of Pro-Vaxxers and Anti-Vaxxers strongly expressing their supports and concerns regarding the vaccines on social media platforms. Understanding this online discourse is crucial for policy makers. This understanding is likely to impact the success of vaccination drives and might even impact the final outcome of our fight against the pandemic. The goal of this work is to improve this understanding using the lens of Twitter-discourse data. We first develop a classifier that categorizes users according to their vaccine-related stance with high precision (97 posted about vaccines in pre-COVID and COVID times. Specifically, we identify distinct topics that these users talk about, and investigate how vaccine-related discourse has changed between pre-COVID times and COVID times. Finally, for the first time, we investigate the change of vaccine-related stances in Twitter users and shed light on potential reasons for such changes in stance. Our dataset and classifier are available at


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