Well being information-seeking habits is the method of acquiring information from a number of sources relating to well being data and protecting well being behaviors.1,2 This habits has been documented within the literature via the data sources populations search and belief for particular well being data. The final decade witnessed an increase within the web sources available to the general public, to independently search dependable and unreliable well being data.
Through the 2020 COVID-19 world lockdown, populations relied closely on digital well being assets and on-line sources of well being data to deal with present or rising well being situations at house. Latest research recognized the most-used sources of well being data throughout the pandemic to be on-line journalism, and social media.3,4 These on-line sources reportedly aggravated the stress ranges of their customers.4 Though the usage of web sources for health-risk data elevated throughout the extreme acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and influenza A virus (H1N1) epidemics, it was not as excessive as speculated (25% and 56%, respectively).5 Nonetheless, there was no world curfew or stay-home order throughout these previous pandemics.
Earlier than the pandemic, nevertheless, all social media platforms had been accessible for all age teams; however they had been principally utilized by youthful era and primarily for pleasure.1,3 Moreover, the general public relays closely on watching information reported on conventional TV; and so they often use social media and different platforms for browsing and shopping.1,4 In terms of discovering vital data associated to well being points, they search such data from well being web sites however not the social media platforms;1,2 although social media platforms are extra accessible and can be found at any time the place customers can entry any well being program at any time in comparison with conventional sources of data.3,4
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, a decline within the childhood vaccination fee was reported worldwide,6 and Saudi Arabia had a damaging impact on youngster vaccination timeliness owing to the worry of being contaminated by COVID-19.7,8 Consequently, there was a large lower (73%) in vaccination charges in Saudi Arabia throughout April and Could 2020 in comparison with the identical interval 3 years in the past.9
Dad and mom weighing the advantages of childhood vaccination versus the danger of getting contaminated with COVID-19, referred to totally different in-person and impersonal sources of data. Within the earlier pandemics and epidemics, mother and father and caregivers confronted comparable worries.10 Literature exhibits that folks used social media as an vital and important data supply to make knowledgeable choices about vaccinating their kids throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.11
On this examine, we evaluate the sources of well being data that folks or caregivers in Saudi Arabia sought earlier than and throughout the pandemic, to help them within the determination to vaccinate or delay vaccinations for his or her kids (aged ≤2 years). This comparability makes an attempt to seize any change in parental habits when considering of childhood vaccination throughout the pandemic lockdown. The 2nd goal is to check whether or not the supply of data on vaccination is related to delayed childhood vaccination throughout the pandemic.
Supplies and Strategies
Examine Inhabitants and Design
This examine is a part of a analysis mission on the results of the COVID-19 pandemic on childhood immunization in Saudi Arabia. The setting, sampling, software improvement, knowledge assortment, analyses, the examine procedures complied with Good Medical Observe and the Declaration of Helsinki and have been described intimately in our earlier examine.8 The questionnaire had sections concerning the individuals’ and their kids’s demographics, and different variables, together with well being and well being service-related elements, vaccination delay and its causes, media publicity, and the size of stage of worry from COVID-19 with increased scores indicating a extreme worry stage.8
Utilizing the snowball methodology, we surveyed 577 mother and father or major caregivers of youngsters aged ≤2 years in Saudi Arabia throughout the pandemic lockdown. Contributors had been approached throughout the early section of the COVID19 pandemic curfew (March 24–July 6, 2020). A validated Arabic and English survey was self-administered on-line via Google Types.8 Invites had been promoted through WhatsApp and different social media like Twitter, Snapchat, and Fb to have interaction hard-to-reach mother and father and caregivers. We assessed the sources of well being data that might affect the choice about vaccinating kids throughout the pandemic interval; these sources embody social media platforms (YouTube, WhatsApp, Fb, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Google, Telegram, and TikTok), conventional media (tv, newspapers, and radio), information experiences on the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals, household, mates both verbally or through WhatsApp, and colleagues. Well being name facilities, web sites, and apps together with the Ministry of Well being (MOH) Sehha app and MOH name heart 937 had been additionally included. Different unbiased variables examined had been the sociodemographic traits, social distancing, youngster’s traits, and well being care elements.
We in contrast the habits and sources of data on vaccination thought of by the mother and father and caregivers earlier than and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown with regard to choices about childhood vaccination. Knowledge can be shared upon affordable request and after approval from the institutional evaluation board. Extra supplies may very well be required throughout the strategy of evaluation. De-identified participant knowledge can be offered after approval by the investigators.
An influence evaluation was carried out for pattern measurement estimation. The projected pattern measurement wanted was N=304 assuming the response fee can be 50%, and 85% energy (type-I error fee=0.05). Nonetheless, the response fee was better than anticipated resulting in a bigger pattern measurement (N=577).
We used McNemar’s take a look at to find out the variations within the prevalence of utilizing every supply of well being data earlier than and after the pandemic with α=0.05 as a stage of statistical significance. The affiliation between the data sources and the delay in vaccination throughout the pandemic was examined utilizing logistic regression fashions. The regression fashions had been adjusted for a variety of potential confounders, together with sociodemographic elements, caregivers’ and kids’s ages, power ailments, well being care elements, scheduled-vaccination historical past of older siblings, and COVID-19 elements (publicity to COVID-19, admission to the intensive care unit [ICU], and worry of COVID-19). The info was analyzed utilizing the Statistical Bundle for Social Sciences v. 27 (SPSS v.27, IBM Corp., USA).
Particulars about knowledgeable consent by the survey individuals and the approval by the institutional evaluation board at King Saud College Faculty of Medication for conducting this examine can be found (Ethics Approval Quantity: E-20-4795).8 Earlier than participation, all potential individuals got the aim of the examine and the chance to contact the principal investigator for any clarifications. The eligible individuals, who had been prepared to voluntarily take part, signed an knowledgeable written consent. The knowledgeable consent was obtained after the character and attainable penalties of the examine had been totally defined to the individuals. Participation was voluntary, responses had been nameless, participant particulars have been stored confidential, and have been used just for knowledge evaluation.
The overall variety of individuals was N=577. The vast majority of individuals had been moms (524/577, 90.8%), Saudi nationals (540/577, 93.6%), and married girls (559/577, 96.9%). The imply age of the caregivers was 32.6 (±5.7) years, 78% of caregivers reported that their kids’s vaccinations had been updated, and 48.2% of individuals had non-public medical insurance. Contributors used the first healthcare facilities as the principle place for vaccinations (280/577, 48.5%), adopted by 31% (179/577) who went to non-public hospitals and 20.5% (118/577) used authorities hospitals. The demographic variables of the caregivers are reported in our earlier examine.8
The imply stage of COVID-19 worry was 21.9 (±5.5) and 60% (347/577) of the individuals reported that studying or watching experiences about COVID-19 on social media platforms or the information elevated their stage of worry. There have been 35.7% (206/577) of individuals who delayed their kids’s routine vaccinations because of COVID-19. Probably the most missed or delayed vaccinations (65/295, 22%) had been at 24 months of age adopted by the 9-month vaccinations (55/295, 19%) and the 12-month vaccinations (46/295, 16%) (Table 1).
Desk 1 Traits of Main Caregivers and Youngsters (N=577)
Social Media Platforms and Different Sources of Info Used
Earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, 38.1% (220/577) of caregivers used to hunt data relating to their kids’s vaccinations personally from healthcare employees, adopted by the MOH name heart 937 (123/577, 21.3%), MOH Sehha app (69/577, 11.9%), and different well being web sites (56/577, 9.7%). Moreover, caregivers weren’t looking for data from conventional media (tv) or fast household (spouses). Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the lower (77/577, 13.3%) in in-person consultations with healthcare employees and the usage of the MOH name heart 937 confirmed a statistically important distinction (P<0.001). Using the MOH Sehha app and different well being web sites decreased to five.2% (30/577) and a couple of.1% (12/577), respectively (P<0.001). Not trying to find data on-line or taking the opinion of different folks to delay vaccinations was talked about by solely 7/577 (1.2%) individuals earlier than the pandemic whereas it was talked about by 30.3% (175/577) of individuals throughout the pandemic, this was a statistically important distinction (P<0.001) (Table 2).
Desk 2 Comparability of Info Sources About Youngsters’s Vaccinations Earlier than and Through the COVID-19 Pandemic (N=577)
Contributors in our examine used >1 social media platform and there have been no customers of any single social media platform. Earlier than the pandemic, 29.9% (173/577) of the individuals used to get data from Twitter adopted by WhatsApp (115/577, 20%), Snapchat (99/577, 17.2%), and Instagram (76/577, 13.1%) (Figure 1). Through the pandemic, the usage of these social media platforms as sources of data was virtually the identical as earlier than the pandemic aside from Snapchat, which was utilized by extra individuals (126/577, 21.9%), this was a statistically important improve (P<0.001).
Determine 1 Using social media platforms as sources of data earlier than and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sources of Info and the Odds of Delaying Childhood Vaccinations
Relating to the impact of various social media platforms on delaying vaccinations, utilizing YouTube elevated the chances of delaying vaccinations by 2.63 occasions (P=0.008) and utilizing Fb elevated the chances of delaying vaccinations by 3.66 occasions (P=0.025). Nonetheless, the usage of Twitter didn’t improve the chances of delaying vaccinations (OR=0.85, P=0.69).8
Relating to different sources of data and their impact on delaying vaccination, many associations had been statistically important. Asking a healthcare skilled in particular person was related to increased odds of delaying the vaccine (OR=2.75, P-value <0.001), equally, asking household and mates or asking a husband or spouse was related to increased odds of delaying the vaccine with an OR=2.43 (P=0.003) and (OR=3.84, P<0.001), respectively. There was inadequate knowledge to research the outcomes for Google, Telegram, and TikTok. Nonetheless, some elements decreased the chances of delaying the vaccinations, together with calling the MOH name heart 937 (OR=0.50, P=0.02) and utilizing the MOH Sehha app (OR=0.16, P=0.01). After adjusting for confounders (caregivers’ and kids’s ages and power ailments, the historical past of receiving scheduled vaccination for older siblings, and COVID-19 elements (publicity to COVID-19, admission to ICU, and stage of worry of COVID-19), solely use of the MOH Sehha app confirmed a statistically important discount within the odds of delaying vaccination. Adjusted and unadjusted odds ratios and their important ranges are proven in Table 3.
Desk 3 Unadjusted and Adjusted Regression Fashions for Selections About Delaying Youngsters’s Vaccinations and Sources of Info Through the COVID 19 Pandemic (N=577)
Sources of Info About Vaccination
Few worldwide papers examine the data sources about COVID-19.3,4,12,13 One among these research13 examined the general change in telehealth earlier than and after COVID-19. Nonetheless, not one of the research in contrast the variations within the sources of well being data earlier than and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the affect of those sources on the caregivers’ choices to delay the vaccination of youngsters. Figuring out the sources of data that individuals belief, to make knowledgeable well being choices throughout occasions of a public well being emergency is vital for planning inhabitants threat communication, and assessing the perceptions of obtained data via on-line social listening and sentiment evaluation.14 That is vital for monitoring the rising infodemic by figuring out the sources of misinformation and disinformation,14 evaluating the distinction within the sources sought earlier than and throughout the pandemic, and detecting the change in well being information-seeking habits within the Saudi dad or mum inhabitants throughout a public-health emergency.
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the best Saudi authority liable for credible data is the MOH.15 Our examine exhibits that conventional media like tv, radio, and newspapers, though utilized by the MOH for well being messaging earlier than and throughout the pandemic, the caregivers didn’t flip to conventional media for well being recommendation. This may very well be as a result of the caregivers’ age group (younger grownup aged 18–35 years) tends to hunt extra data on-line,16 and the digital format of the survey may end up in a sampling bias. This aligns with a examine on childhood vaccination in Saudi Arabia throughout the pandemic reporting social media as probably the most most popular supply of data.8 Regardless of rising proof concerning the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on childhood vaccination in Saudi Arabia,7–9 restricted proof is obtainable concerning the sources of data for childhood vaccination throughout the pandemic. One of many research has reported probably the most preferable sources of well being data throughout the pandemic7 and in step with our findings, social media is reported to be probably the most most popular supply of data relating to kids’s vaccinations adopted by tv and newspapers (70% and 30%, respectively). Earlier literature exhibits that the mother and father’ fundamental sources of data on vaccination earlier than the pandemic had been nonmedical sources,17 primarily social media (56%).18
Well being Apps
There was a lower in the usage of the MOH name heart 937 and free public well being apps to ask about vaccines throughout the pandemic. This may very well be defined by the surge of calls and app customers throughout the pandemic for all health-related inquiries resulting in decreased accessibility; as there have been longer wait occasions in queue on the calls, and the apps had been crashing or sluggish, and typically weren’t working. This might indicate that the general public understand the MOH as a trusted supply of data,19,20 evident by the favorable affiliation between use of the MOH Sehha app and the decreased chance of delaying vaccination. Nonetheless, the decreased use of different well being apps goes in opposition to native and worldwide experiences of elevated telehealth and digital well being use throughout the pandemic.13 A attainable rationalization is that different well being apps offering well being consultations in Saudi Arabia are industrial and require service charges,21 or that there was decreased consciousness among the many common inhabitants about different non-MOH well being session apps.
As anticipated, because of the lower in entry to well being care facilities throughout the curfew, looking for data from well being care professionals was considerably decreased throughout the pandemic. Nonetheless, those that did seek the advice of well being care professionals had been 3.65 occasions extra more likely to delay childhood immunization. This might recommend elevated worry of COVID-19 amongst well being care professionals throughout the pandemic, main to non-public views that don’t align with authorities messaging. The same commentary was reported throughout the SARS and H1N1 epidemics.5 Subsequently, our outcomes spotlight the robust affect of interpersonal social networks on well being choices in Saudi Arabia.10,20,22,23 The percentages of delaying kids’s vaccinations had been considerably increased amongst caregivers looking for vaccination data from household, mates, and spouses. Such interpersonal results on vaccination choices have been reported not solely within the Saudi inhabitants,7,9,17,18,24 but additionally worldwide.25–27
The behaviour of the entire nation was shifted to digital platforms.28 The change was noticeable within the utilization of social media in 202028 in comparison with the earlier 2 years.29 The utilization of social media elevated by 2.1 million (+8.0%) in Saudi Arabia. The variety of these customers was equal to 79.3% of the full inhabitants. Certainly, the federal government well being web sites had been usually up to date, and the Saudi MOH has initiated social media accounts to report each day updates about COVID-19 and promotes public well being measures.13,19,20 The MOH devoted well being messaging via its social media platforms to induce folks to keep up their kids’s immunization schedules and reassure them that efforts had been in place to have protected major well being care facilities with a low threat of being contaminated with COVID-19.19 As a part of the buyer habits of health-information looking for in Saudi Arabia, folks lookup well being data straight from social media platform search bars.16 In lots of different nations, social media platforms influenced vaccination choices even earlier than the pandemic.11,27
There was a slight improve in the usage of social media platforms throughout the pandemic in Saudi Arabia. We discovered that individuals used >1 supply of data and >1 social media platform, which is a globally noticed pattern.5 Though caregivers had been requested an open-ended query to checklist all causes that result in vaccination delay, none of them listed a particular social media platform. Amongst the social media platforms, Twitter was probably the most prevalent (29.9%) and though it had no affect on the vaccination determination, its use was related to increased worry ranges.8 Along with Twitter, the usage of Snapchat was considerably increased throughout the lockdown in contrast with its utilization earlier than the pandemic (126/577, 21.9% vs 99/577, 17.2%, P<0.001), with no statistically important impact on the choice about childhood vaccination. In Saudi Arabia, Snapchat is probably the most favored platform (45.8%);30 it’s used primarily by younger adults (18–35 years). It’s attainable that the caregivers had been exploring new social media platforms throughout the lockdown to beat social challenges, such because the restriction of social gatherings.
Caregivers can simply discover details about vaccination on social media equivalent to Snapchat; it was one of many social media accounts initiated by the Saudi MOH to report each day up to date about COVID-19.13,19,20 Snapchat supplies in-app assets referred to as “Right here For You” function which allow customers to seek out extra details about any matter. Through the pandemic, Snapchat has expanded its “Right here For You” function to incorporate extra details about well being, psychological well being and wellbeing. Dad and mom who had been trying to find phrases equivalent to “COVID-19”, “vaccine”, “youngster”, “vaccination” had been directed to skilled Nationwide Well being Service (NHS) assets.31 Moreover, Snapchat has been discovered as a promising software for well being data and schooling particularly amongst youthful era.32 Globally, many medical doctors are energetic on Snapchat to offer digital well being data attracting younger adults.33 In Saudi Arabia, licenced physicians and medical professionals established social media accounts (Snapchat is one in all them) for digital consultations and well being promotion throughout the pandemic; it was began as an people’ initiative out of their good coronary heart on social media throughout the lockdown and shortly after, the Saudi authorities adopted the person initiatives and reworked it into an organized nationwide volunteer program with an official web site.34 Quite the opposite, few social media influencers, who’re neither a medical career nor giving the proper medical data, had been offering deceptive well being data (ie infodemic).
Impact of Age and Gender
The sociodemographic profiles of the caregivers in our examine inhabitants might be thought of one of many vital determinants for acquiring data from totally different social media platforms throughout the pandemic. Age group and gender distribution affect the usage of internet-based sources and social media in comparison with conventional sources of data; many of the caregivers in our examine inhabitants are younger girls. In comparison with males, girls usually tend to search well being data from all accessible sources, and they’re extra more likely to be involved about well being data, particularly for his or her kids.4,35 Furthermore, our caregivers had been younger and regularly sought well being data from a number of social media platforms.4,36 Youthful girls sought well being data through internet-based sources throughout different epidemics, together with Ebola.37 This discovering concerning the affect of age and gender help the social-media use demographics in Saudi Arabia.16,38
On-line Arabic Content material
For the reason that starting of the pandemic, social media posts about COVID-19 on Fb, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube are flagged with a message that directs customers to credible sources of details about COVID-19, together with the World Well being Group and Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention web sites.39,40 Nonetheless, this isn’t the case for Arabic content material on these platforms. Doubtlessly, Arab social media influencers may very well be a software for combating COVID-19-related misinformation within the Arabic content material.41 Our outcomes present that folks and caregivers not often sought non-healthcare-professional social media figures for the choice to delay childhood vaccinations earlier than or throughout the pandemic.
YouTube and Fb had been statistically considerably related to increased odds of delaying the vaccinations and this discovering wants additional investigation. Maybe the MOH consciousness actions are usually not sufficiently robust on these platforms. One other rationalization is the deceptive data (particularly Arabic content material) disseminated through YouTube and Fb about vaccination.26,41–46 This may very well be a future supply of anti-vaccine campaigns concentrating on Arabic talking populations, particularly Center-Japanese mother and father.26 These campaigns may very well be in organized teams or by particular person public figures; anti-vaccine advocates have been posting many deceptive movies about vaccinations on YouTube.47 This anti-vaccination motion is fueled by social media48 and could be a potential nationwide and world risk.
Strengths and Limitations
This examine has quite a few strengths. We described a social and behavioral facet of the COVID-19 pandemic and in contrast it to pre-pandemic habits. The response from our caregivers’ survey was satisfactory and consultant. The affiliation between the choice to delay vaccination and the sources of data throughout the COVID-19 pandemic had been adjusted for attainable confounders within the regression mannequin. The vaccination historical past of older siblings was thought of within the regression mannequin to get rid of the attainable results of the caregivers’ beliefs49 and their vaccination hesitancy50 of their determination to delay their kids’s vaccination throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
This examine has some limitations. The snowball sampling may have affected the social media platform solutions, given the platform the place the participant obtained the digital survey. To keep away from authorized legal responsibility, we didn’t ask social-media customers concerning the particular accounts the place they received their data, as not immunizing kids is taken into account a type of neglect that may very well be legally pursued in Saudi Arabia.
The entry to well being data via social media platforms throughout the pandemic lockdown had significantly elevated specifically to Twitter and Snapchat. These platforms had performed an vital function within the caregivers’ decision-making about childhood vaccinations. Subsequently, well being authorities can take into account well being data dissemination via the utilization of probably the most generally accessed and most influential sources of data by the general public. Likewise, dissemination of well being messaging to focus on secondary viewers equivalent to well being care suppliers, household, mates, and spouses, who’ve a big affect on mother and father and caregiver’s decision-making. Future nationwide crisis-preparedness planning wants to focus on these sources of data for well being promotion and guarantee they include dependable well being data, which is usually up to date and monitored.
MOH, Ministry of Well being; SARS, Extreme Acute Respiratory Syndrome; H1N1, Influenza A virus.
Particular thanks for help by the Faculty of Medication Analysis Middle, Deanship of Scientific Analysis, King Saud College, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The authors report no conflicts of curiosity on this work.
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