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This paper explores vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers (HCWs) in the UK, where different COVID-19 vaccines were being rolled out through a national vaccination campaign from 2020 to 2022, consisting of a first and second dose programme. Through a mixed-method approach using qualitative discourse analysis and network analysis of Twitter data, we assessed HCW perceptions and views about the administration and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in the United Kingdom (UK). We were also interested in exploring HCWs' personal experiences and attitudes towards taking COVID-19 vaccines themselves. We drew upon sociology, ethics, communication studies and used research methods concentrating on social media and media analysis. By employing the '5C framework' of 'confidence, complacency, constraints, calculation, and collective responsibility' we evaluated a longitudinal selection of tweets to capture relevant factors driving vaccination views and behaviours among HCWs. We found differing positions expressed about COVID-19 vaccines and policy during the first dose compared with the second, through a drop in confidence compounded by supply and access issues, as well the news of a vaccine mandate for HCWs by the UK government in 2021. HCWs asked calculation questions to the community or brought forward competing pieces of information about vaccine policy and guidelines. Constraint levels in access issues were noted, especially for those with work and caregiving responsibilities, and student nurses found they did not have equal vaccination access. HCWs also displayed collective responsibility on social platforms to both encourage vaccination and express concerns through the organisation of social action against vaccine mandates.

Original publication




Journal article


Soc Sci Med

Publication Date





5C framework, COVID-19 vaccines, Healthcare workers, Social media, Vaccine attitudes, Vaccine delivery