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    The general public was discussing racism and potential inequities in COVID-19 vaccinations among African Americans on Twitter before the first COVID-19 vaccine received emergency use authorization, but it is unclear how US state health departments (SHDs) were using Twitter to address the inequities. This study examines the frequency, content and timing of SHD tweets during the US rollout of the first SARS Co-V2 vaccine. This was a prospective study of tweets posted from the official Twitter accounts of each of the 50 US SHDs and the DC health department from October 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021. We retrieved the content and metadata of 100% of their tweets; calculated frequencies and proportions of tweets containing key terms related to COVID-19 vaccines, equity and racism; stratified the data by region; and charted longitudinal trends. Overall, SHDs tweeted infrequently, and rarely tweeted about inequities, mistrust or racism. Though 55.48% of all SHD tweets were about COVID-19, hardly any tweets contained the terms: race/ethnicity (1.20%); equity (1.09); mistrust (.59%); or racism (.06%). Similar patterns existed among vaccination-related tweets, which accounted for 24.38% of all tweets. Only 21.64% of vaccination-related tweets containing any race/ethnicity, equity, mistrust, or racism terms were posted prior to the first Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Those about African Americans (70.45%) were posted ≥8 weeks after EUA. Concerns about racism and inequities in COVID-19 vaccination continue on Twitter, but SHDs rarely tweet about them. This strikes a worrisome chord of disconnection from the science linking health inequities to racism. Copyright © 2022, Ethnicity & Disease, Inc.

    Citation

    Natalie J Bradford, Bita Amani, Valencia P Walker, Mienah Z Sharif, Chandra L Ford. Barely Tweeting and Rarely About Racism: Assessing US State Health Department Twitter Use During the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout. Ethnicity & disease. 2022;32(3):257-264

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    PMID: 35909637

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