論文誌 (国際) Measuring Concerns About the COVID-19 Vaccine Among Japanese Internet Users through Search Queries
Scientific Reports (Scientific Reports)
With the increasing availability of the COVID-19 vaccines, vaccination has been rapidly promoted globally as a countermeasure against the spread of COVID-19. In Japan, vaccination was first introduced in February 2021. However, the amount of concern towards vaccination differs between individuals, and topics of concern include adverse reactions and side effects. This study investigated attitudes toward vaccines or vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic across different Japanese prefectures, using Yahoo! JAPAN search queries. We first defined a vaccine concern index (VCI) by aggregating the search counts of vaccine–related queries from Yahoo! JAPAN users before examining VCI across all Japanese prefectures, accounting for gender and age. Our results demonstrated that VCI tended to be lower in more populated areas, and VCI was higher in their 20s to 40s than older people, especially in female users. Furthermore, there was a significant positive correlation (Spearman’s Rank correlation coefficient ρ=0.60, p<.001) between VCI and prefectural vaccination rate, suggesting that web searching of adverse vaccine reactions may precede actual vaccination. This could reflect the information-seeking behavior of individuals who are accepting of vaccinations.