Tracking the Influence of Misinformation on Elderly People’s Perceptions and Intention to Accept COVID-19 Vaccines

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationHealth Communication
Publication statusOnline published - 23 Sep 2021

Abstract

In this study, we surveyed low-income elderly people in Hong Kong and their family or friends to test a dual-path model with which we identified how misinformation in the media reached elderly people and how the elderly people’s perception and acceptance of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines were influenced. The findings suggest that elderly people’s own exposure to erroneous information regarding vaccines and COVID-19 in the media was positively associated with their misperceptions. In addition, their family or friends, who also received misinformation from the media, were found to relay the misleading or erroneous information to the elderly people, indicating a two-step flow of media influence. While previous studies have predominantly focused on the direct influence of misinformation in the media, our study suggests that social influence can also mediate the influence of misinformation in the media and negatively impacts elderly people’s perceptions of COVID-19 vaccines.