Public Attitudes and Factors of COVID-19 Testing Hesitancy in the United Kingdom and China: Comparative Infodemiology Study

Leesa Lin, Yi Song, Qian Wang, Jialu Pu, Fiona Yueqian Sun, Yixuan Zhang, Xinyu Zhou, Heidi J Larson, Zhiyuan Hou
2021 JMIR infodemiology  
Massive community-wide testing has become the cornerstone of management strategies for the COVID-19 pandemic. This study was a comparative analysis between the United Kingdom and China, which aimed to assess public attitudes and uptake regarding COVID-19 testing, with a focus on factors of COVID-19 testing hesitancy, including effectiveness, access, risk perception, and communication. We collected and manually coded 3856 UK tweets and 9299 Chinese Sina Weibo posts mentioning COVID-19 testing
more » ... m June 1 to July 15, 2020. Adapted from the World Health Organization's 3C Model of Vaccine Hesitancy, we employed social listening analysis examining key factors of COVID-19 testing hesitancy (confidence, complacency, convenience, and communication). Descriptive analysis, time trends, geographical mapping, and chi-squared tests were performed to assess the temporal, spatial, and sociodemographic characteristics that determine the difference in attitudes or uptake of COVID-19 tests. The UK tweets demonstrated a higher percentage of support toward COVID-19 testing than the posts from China. There were much wider reports of public uptake of COVID-19 tests in mainland China than in the United Kingdom; however, uncomfortable experiences and logistical barriers to testing were more expressed in China. The driving forces for undergoing COVID-19 testing were personal health needs, community-wide testing, and mandatory testing policies for travel, with major differences in the ranking order between the two countries. Rumors and information inquiries about COVID-19 testing were also identified. Public attitudes and acceptance toward COVID-19 testing constantly evolve with local epidemic situations. Policies and information campaigns that emphasize the importance of timely testing and rapid communication responses to inquiries and rumors, and provide a supportive environment for accessing tests are key to tackling COVID-19 testing hesitancy and increasing uptake.
doi:10.2196/26895 pmid:34541460 pmcid:PMC8404307 fatcat:fixynvoqxrgjbabbwo2vzzbojq