Facebook’s Covid-19 Trends and Impact Surveyby Gabriel Stefanini Vicente , Stefani Darinka Guevara Soto
With as many as 8 vaccines approved for use around the world the most urgent need now to control the spread of the novel coronavirus is increasing vaccination rates. Inoculation, however, is proving to be a challenge as a portion of communities around the world hold some concern or hesitancy toward the vaccine. To target low inoculation rates and quicken to a post-pandemic world, researchers need to know where and how to combat these barriers to vaccine acceptance. The Covid-19 Trends and Impact Survey, conducted by the University of Maryland in partnership with Facebook, can help researchers do so by gauging sentiments using survey data.
Policymakers and health organizations must improve widespread vaccination coverage to contain COVID-19 as it continues to spread within their countries. However, as vaccines become more readily available, we find that portions of national populations are choosing to opt-out. To increase vaccine uptake, policymakers and organizations should understand what the barriers to vaccine acceptance are, where hesitancy is strongest and how to target these barriers in critical areas. Sampling large populations to gauge sentiment, however, can be challenging and costly.
Facebook’s Data for Good Program together with the University of Maryland launched a global survey in April of 2020 to support COVID-19 research and to help inform public health decisions. This survey is now available in more than 50 languages and distributed to a new sample of Facebook users daily via invitation through their newsfeed, with privacy measures incorporated at the start.
This survey contains questions on the economic and mental impacts of the pandemic as well as behavioral tendencies, testing and symptoms. The survey is weighted by Facebook to adjust for non-response and coverage bias. Since December 2020 with the rollout of vaccines, the survey has also included questions on vaccine sentiment, such as whether an individual would be willing to take the vaccine if available, reasons for hesitancy and who they trust for COVID-19 information.
The below visuals show a snapshot of global vaccine sentiment in May using data corresponding to these questions. With these charts we can see differences between World Bank regions and income classifications as well as among different groups, such as age, gender, and urbanicity.
Most countries that had among the highest levels of hesitancy (50% or higher) in May were those in the Europe and Central Asia region. Haiti was the only Latin American and Caribbean nation in this list of countries. Moreover, the majority of those with 50% or higher hesitancy rates constituted countries in the Upper Middle Income, Europe and Central Asia group.
The Reasons of Hesitancy Between Male & Female chart shows that for those countries with the highest hesitancy rates, as well as most other countries, concern over side effects is the predominant reason for vaccine hesitancy among those who claimed to be male or female. Cost and religion were generally the most insignificant barriers.
Aggregated data based on daily, weekly and monthly survey responses, as well as demographic groups are available publicly via API and contingency tables. Microdata is available only to academic and non-profit researchers, and World Bank staff can request access to the data through the Development Data Partnership.
The wealth of data available through this survey has helped researchers understand the spread of the pandemic and can help guide the current pressing issue of vaccination uptake around the world.