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More than 20% of vaccination pictures have some negativity - IMI research

01.02.2021, 16:52

Every fifth news item about vaccination in Ukrainian online editions (20.1%) came out with a vaccination image, which could cause some negative emotional reaction of the audience. These are the results of the IMI monitoring study conducted in December 2020 - January 2021 in 20 online media *.

IMI research showed that in the Ukrainian mass media every third material (34.1%) had an abstract stock image related to some medical issue. There were images of vaccine ampoules, logos of vaccine companies, syringes, doctors, children and hands in medical gloves. 

3.2% of the news items had some images of people with sad, frightened or anxious facial expressions. Only in isolated cases in vaccination news showed people smiling or show a "Cool!" gesture with their hands. Almost every fifth news item ( 18%) had images of a medical syringe or injecting fluid from the ampoule into the syringe. In this case, the pictures are to set up eventual patients for pain from vaccination.

For the most part, the editors use some occasional stock images to illustrate the story. However, usually these photos are not real and do not convey the accuracy of the whole procedure. IMI experts noticed the following mistakes when using stock photos in vaccination news items:

-Most often, these are staged photos where the person uncorrectly holds the syring.

-One of the triggers is a big picture of a needle or a syringe. Such images can cause fear or discomfort in people.

-Stock photos often depict children in tears and patients with anxious expressions. 

In 2019 the magazine Self together with the American Academy of Pediatrics established a collaboration project and uploaded to cloud stock photos of positive and neutral mood of patients, thus helping the mass media to use appropriate images that are medically accurate and present vaccination positively.

* Monitoring analysis was conducted using customized Google Advanced Search queries and IMI's internal monitoring work from December 21-27, 2020 and January 11-17, 2021 in 20 national online media (eleven top-rated, seven media that signed the memorandum to the Media standards, as well as two sites that have expressed a desire to be on the list of media subject to monitoring):,,,,,, politeka .net,,,, (М), (М), (М), (М), ), (M), (M), (M), (M). The total sample was 1073 materials.

This study was made possible by the support of the American people through the USAID Media Program in Ukraine, implemented by the international organization Internews Network. The contents are the sole responsibility of the Institute of Mass Information and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the US Government or the Internews Network.

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