Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology


Information and Decision Sciences

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr Conrad Shayo


Reducing vaccine hesitancy is an essential public health & safety challenge worldwide, especially during the COVID - 19 pandemic. Governments and health safety agencies have noticed that social media can significantly influence people's sentiments and opinions about vaccinations. There is a lack of studies on the impact of social norms, herding effects, and social media influencers on people's sentiments and opinions about vaccinations. This culminating experience project extracted and analyzed Twitter data (2021 to 2022) using Twitter API and the RStudio AcdemicTwitterR package to study the impact of social norms, herding effects, and social media influencers on people's sentiments, emotions, and opinions about COVID - 19 vaccinations. Methods used to fulfil the data analysis are natural language processing algorithm - sentiment analysis, and social network analysis algorithms. The top three main questions for this study are (1) What caused Twitter COVID-19 vaccine-related keywords trends and sentiment to change over time, (2) How do social media influencers on Twitter impact other users’ sentiment on COVID-19 vaccine-related topics, and (3) Do herding behaviors exist and how does it affect media users’ sentiments and opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine. The results for the main questions showed that (1) Twitter keyword trends change and fluctuate with COVID-19 vaccine-related news and events; (2) Social media influencers use their unique influence and the information dissemination pattern of the topic community to influence other users on vaccine-related opinions; (3) The python subjectivity test shows herding behaviors exist in negative polarity topic communities and significantly change COVID-19 vaccine sentiment.egative polarity topic communities and significantly change other users’ COVID-19 vaccine emotion. Social media platform like Twitter is a double-edged sword. It could cause more vaccine hesitancy if public health agencies do not pay enough attention. However, if public health agencies could utilize Twitter properly, it would be a potent weapon that can significantly reduce vaccine hesitancy. It is recommended that public health agencies (1) utilize social media influencers to promote reliable information sources and official information to users, (2) use social norms-based messages to warn users, and (3) invite health professionals to social media to help dispel misinformation with their influence. Areas for further study include factors that caused vaccine hesitancy, such as political, cultural, ethnicity, and social aspects by state, county, and city.