30 Jun

Suspected cases of measles revive debate on vaccination with up to 6,440 tweets per day

Average number of references to the subject increased by 200% from June to July with discussions about cases of the disease

Updated 6 de August, 2018 at 8:48 am

After the yellow fever, measles. The emergence of another disease with outbreaks spread throughout Brazil has once again become the focus of attention on Twitter and prompted a broad debate on misinformation and public health. Discussions on vaccination and diseases associated with immunization have increased since the second week of June, and 121,900 tweets about the subject were registered between June 7 and July 11.

However, the return of the topic on social networks came with a different perspective than that of the first months of 2018, when the yellow fever and the monkey attacks were the center of engagements on the web. Starting from June, the debate started to assume more of a political tone, incorporating different issues such as immigration, public investment, anti-science movements, combatting of fake news and budgets.

Between June 7 and 30, the average number of daily references to vaccinations and associated diseases was 2.1 tweets. Starting from July 1, however, this average rose by 200%: 6,440 tweets/day.

Groups opposed to opening the country’s borders to refugees argued that socialist political regimes, such as Nicolás Maduro’s, are the main factor responsible for the reappearance of diseases considered extinct.

Evolution of the debate on Twitter about vaccination and associated diseases