(U//FOUO) FEMA COVID-19 Vaccine Sentiment Social Listening Report January 27, 2021

The following is an example of a daily "Social Listening Report" produced by FEMA as part of Emergency Support Function 15 which focuses heavily on public sentiment and news coverage related to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly sentiment regarding vaccines and the national vaccination campaign in late January.

COVID-19 ESF 15 - External Affairs Social Listening Report

Page Count: 17 pages
Date: January 27, 2021
Restriction: For Official Use Only
Originating Organization: FEMA
File Type: pdf
File Size: 2,564,023 bytes
File Hash (SHA-256): CC2550AC4ED88EB567A068F3B6DA9FA3CF264A12BD7F4535192B9278C7CCF79D

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• There are reports of increased skepticism regarding the vaccine among Latinx communities. There is a lack of trust in the guidance and policies being shared by the federal government and some state and local officials. This is causing some to feel more hesitant about receiving the vaccine.
• Many individuals who have received the first round of the vaccine are growing more concerned that supplies will run out before they can receive their second dose, or that they will not be able to obtain appointments for their second dose.
• There is a small amount of local news coverage regarding FEMA funeral assistance. Members of the National Funeral Directors Association report they are anxiously awaiting additional guidance from FEMA about how the program will be implemented. There has also been steady coverage in local media regarding the recent allocation of funds to bolster state vaccine administration capacity.
• There is some debate and disagreement among state lawmakers regarding what populations should be prioritized for the vaccine.
• This afternoon, traditional media has focused on the White House COVID-19 Response Team’s press brief. Popular topics covered in the brief included overall action plans, infection risk following detection of new virus strains within U.S. borders, and ongoing concerns about vaccine supplies and accessibility. Today’s newspaper front-page headlines covered new vaccination sites, concerns regarding new strains of the virus, and mixed public reaction to the pace of vaccine distribution and administration.

• Reports of inequitable vaccine distribution is becoming an increasingly hot topic among Latinx communities. (example 1, example 2)
o Some members of these communities claim there is hesitation to get vaccinated due to a lack of official information available in Spanish and a large circulation of myths/rumors causing an overall lack of trust towards government messaging regarding the vaccine.
o Many feel reports of inequitable vaccine are intended to be polarizing, claiming that the states being analyzed in the news reports are predominantly white anyways.
• Debate over double masking has grown significantly due to increased coverage from local news outlets. (example 1, example 2) There continue to be a large number of people who say they do not plan to wear multiple masks. These individuals often cite concern for breathing or a lack of trust in federal guidance.
• The anti-vaccine sentiment remains strong on social media. Content encouraging people to get vaccines is frequently overwhelmed by comments from accounts sharing false or negative information related to vaccines.
• A number of people are anxious and confused over how to schedule their second doses within the vaccine manufacturers recommended time frames.

• Henry County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of a scam in which callers are requesting personal information and payment to schedule an appointment for COVID-19 vaccination. The public is advised the public not to give personal details nor payment over the phone.
• One Pennsylvania news outlet reports that ‘experts’ warn not to take pain relievers before getting vaccinated. However, the news article does not specify what kind of experts issued the warning.
• Following news that baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron died a few a weeks after taking the vaccine, those who are skeptical or against the vaccine have falsely linked his death to the COVID-19 vaccine.

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