An emerging pattern of public doubt in scientific and political authorities has been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, where numerous alternatives to vaccinations have gone viral. Ivermectin's growth from a relatively known specialist drug to a political controversy is a striking example of the amplification that social media can provide. Doubt in the dangers of illness has occurred in regard to previous diseases with limited impact, including the Zika virus, Ebola, and H1N1. However, the COVID-19 pandemic's impact in the United States is a much larger example of the gaps in current risk assessments and methods of public health authorities. Publicly available Twitter data was mined to identify tweets discussing ivermectin and vaccination during the first year of COVID-19, before public discussion of ivermectin took off. Those tweets were coded using textual analysis and examined through the use of statistical tools. I examine existing sociological studies about trust in medical authority, vaccine rejection, diffusion of new information, and risk analysis to provide context for my results. Attitudes towards vaccination influenced attitudes towards ivermectin inversely. Negative attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination were associated with more positive attitudes towards ivermectin. Mentions of pharmaceuticals, deaths during the vaccine wait, or a vaccine conspiracy were additionally significant, all of which led to more positive attitudes towards ivermectin.
Park, Hyung Sam
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Gabriel, Daniel, "Ivermectin on Twitter: Investigating Early Advocacy for COVID-19 Vaccine Alternatives" (2023). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1347.