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The reliability and quality of YouTube videos as a source of public health information regarding COVID-19 vaccination: cross-sectional study

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Title: The reliability and quality of YouTube videos as a source of public health information regarding COVID-19 vaccination: cross-sectional study
Authors: Chan, C
Sounderajah, V
Daniels, E
Acharya, A
Clarke, J
Yalamanchili, S
Normahani, P
Markar, S
Ashrafian, H
Darzi, A
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background: Recent emergency authorization and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines by regulatory bodies has generated global attention. As the most popular video-sharing platform globally, YouTube is a potent medium for the dissemination of key public health information. Understanding the nature of available content regarding COVID-19 vaccination on this widely used platform is of substantial public health interest. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the reliability and quality of information on COVID-19 vaccination in YouTube videos. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, the phrases “coronavirus vaccine” and “COVID-19 vaccine” were searched on the UK version of YouTube on December 10, 2020. The 200 most viewed videos of each search were extracted and screened for relevance and English language. Video content and characteristics were extracted and independently rated against Health on the Net Foundation Code of Conduct and DISCERN quality criteria for consumer health information by 2 authors. Results: Forty-eight videos, with a combined total view count of 30,100,561, were included in the analysis. Topics addressed comprised the following: vaccine science (n=18, 58%), vaccine trials (n=28, 58%), side effects (n=23, 48%), efficacy (n=17, 35%), and manufacturing (n=8, 17%). Ten (21%) videos encouraged continued public health measures. Only 2 (4.2%) videos made nonfactual claims. The content of 47 (98%) videos was scored to have low (n=27, 56%) or moderate (n=20, 42%) adherence to Health on the Net Foundation Code of Conduct principles. Median overall DISCERN score per channel type ranged from 40.3 (IQR 34.8-47.0) to 64.3 (IQR 58.5-66.3). Educational channels produced by both medical and nonmedical professionals achieved significantly higher DISCERN scores than those of other categories. The highest median DISCERN scores were achieved by educational videos produced by medical professionals (64.3, IQR 58.5-66.3) and the lowest median scores by independent users (18, IQR 18-20). Conclusions: The overall quality and reliability of information on COVID-19 vaccines on YouTube remains poor. Videos produced by educational channels, especially by medical professionals, were higher in quality and reliability than those produced by other sources, including health-related organizations. Collaboration between health-related organizations and established medical and educational YouTube content producers provides an opportunity for the dissemination of high-quality information on COVID-19 vaccination. Such collaboration holds potential as a rapidly implementable public health intervention aiming to engage a wide audience and increase public vaccination awareness and knowledge.
Issue Date: 8-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance: 21-May-2021
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/88939
DOI: 10.2196/29942
ISSN: 2369-2960
Publisher: JMIR Publications
Journal / Book Title: JMIR Public Health and Surveillance
Volume: 7
Issue: 7
Copyright Statement: ©Calvin Chan, Viknesh Sounderajah, Elisabeth Daniels, Amish Acharya, Jonathan Clarke, Seema Yalamanchili, Pasha Normahani,Sheraz Markar, Hutan Ashrafian, Ara Darzi. Originally published in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance(https://publichealth.jmir.org), 08.07.2021. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproductionin any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://publichealth.jmir.org, as well as this copyright and licenseinformation must be included.
Sponsor/Funder: National Institute of Health Research
Keywords: COVID-19
public health
social media
web-based health information
COVID-19 Vaccines
Consumer Health Information
Cross-Sectional Studies
Information Dissemination
Public Health
Reproducibility of Results
Social Media
United Kingdom
Video Recording
Cross-Sectional Studies
Reproducibility of Results
Information Dissemination
Public Health
Video Recording
Consumer Health Information
Social Media
United Kingdom
COVID-19 Vaccines
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: ARTN e29942
Online Publication Date: 2021-05-21
Appears in Collections:Department of Surgery and Cancer
Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Physics
Faculty of Medicine
Institute of Global Health Innovation
Imperial College London COVID-19
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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