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Sentiment Analysis of South African tweets about COVID-19 vaccines

15 pagesPublished: May 1, 2023


The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns have led to a surge in the use of social media for information sharing and learning about the virus and the vaccine. Our study aimed to understand the sentiments of South African Twitter users towards COVID-19 vaccines. Using the Twitter API version 2, we collected a total of 21,084 tweets from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021, during the government's rollout of the vaccine. A sentiment analysis was performed using the VADER lexicon-based classifier to categorise the tweets into positive, neutral, and negative sentiments. The results showed that 40% of the tweets were positive towards the vaccine, 32% were neutral, and 28% were negative. The analysis also revealed that people expressed their opinions on vaccinations more frequently during the early months of the year (January-March 2021) in response to the government's announcement for the vaccine rollout. However, the attitudes towards the vaccine changed throughout the year, indicating that people were sceptical of the government's vaccine rollout strategy, which could have affected the overall vaccine adoption. The findings of this study can provide valuable insights for policymakers and healthcare organisations in shaping effective strategies for promoting vaccine adoption.

Keyphrases: COVID-19 vaccines, Public Opinions, Sentiment Analysis, social media, South Africa 2021, Twitter Sentiment Analysis, vaccine hesitancy

In: Hossana Twinomurinzi, Nkosikhona Msweli, Tendani Mawela and Surendra Thakur (editors). Proceedings of NEMISA Digital Skills Conference 2023: Scaling Data Skills For Multidisciplinary Impact, vol 5, pages 54--68

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Thato Ditsele and Wallace Chigona and Malebo Sephodi},
  title     = {Sentiment Analysis of South African tweets about COVID-19 vaccines},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of NEMISA Digital Skills Conference 2023: Scaling Data Skills For Multidisciplinary Impact},
  editor    = {Hossana Twinomurinzi and Nkosikhona Theoren Msweli and Tendani Mawela and Surendra Thakur},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Education Science},
  volume    = {5},
  pages     = {54--68},
  year      = {2023},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2516-2306},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/s9jf}}
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