Trend analysis of #Sinovac and #BioNTech on Twitter

Recently, the vaccine against COVID-19 has been put in use in a large scale worldwide. This has aroused widespread discussion among people on the Internet. People discuss the vaccination population, price, or concerns about potential side effects. For example, Hongkongers’ fears over the safety of Sinovac vaccines are rising as Apple Daily and other media have widely reported the news that someone died after being vaccinated. This article analyzes the Twittertrend of two vaccines, Sinovac and Biontech, which are more common in Hong Kong.

Sinovac’s vaccine is produced by Sinovac Biotech Ltd., a Chinese biopharmaceutical company focusing on the research and commercialization of vaccines. It is actually an inactivated virus COVID-19. The BioNTech vaccine is actually Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which was developed in cooperation with the initial developer German company BioNTech with Pfizer for support. It is an mRNA based COVID-19 vaccine.

First of all, in 500 searches, the average number of followers of users discussing Sinovac is] 382,121, which is far more than 33678 discussing Biontech. However, the median difference between the two is not so great, 809 and 537 respectively.

In 500 searches, followers count of the Sinovac post's authors
In 500 searches, followers count of the BioNtech post's authors

As can be seen from the chart below, this is because some accounts with huge amount of followers have posted about Sinovac.

In 500 searches, the 10 accounts with the most #Sinovac mentioned
In 500 searches, the 10 accounts with the most #BioNtech mentioned

As the two widely used vaccines, they are closely linked to related accounts and topics. Accounts such as @BioNTech_Group and @Moderna frequently send posts involving these two tags. Among them, accounts that follow Biontech release related information more frequently. Among 500 searches, only the Global Times issued 8 related posts for Sinovac, far more than other accounts. This may be because the Global Times is a newspaper under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Communist Party and will promote Sinovac, which is produced in China, to regions outside of China on Twitter.

Interestingly, there is a big difference between the tags most closely related to these two tags. Except for the generic tags such as #COVID19 and #vaccine, which are related to both, on the one hand, #Sinovac is obviously related to words such as #China and #HongKong. In 2000 searches, #Sinovac appeared 316 times, among which #Sinovac, #China and #HongKong were mentioned 55 times and 25 times at the same time. On the other hand, #BioNTech is more often mentioned in conjunction with other non-China vaccines. In 2000 searches, #BioNTech and #Pfizer appeared 361 times, #AstraZeneca and #Moderna were mentioned 148 times, 106 times, and 58 times, respectively.

In the latest six random searches, there appeared two posts that said “Do the right thing for the benefit of #publichealth!”, and attached such as https://t.co/I6uHS8iw9L. These are two opposing Beijing The Hong Kong account is accompanied by a statement on Sinovac conflict. It can be seen that the promotion of China’s Sinovac vaccine in Hong Kong will inevitably touch the sensitive political conflict between Beijing and Hong Kong.