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Improving Public Health Policy by Comparing the Public Response during the Start of COVID-19 and Monkeypox on Twitter in Germany: A Mixed Methods Study

Affiliation
Research Associate, Institute of Global Health (HIGH), Heidelberg University, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
AL-Ahdal, Tareq;
ORCID
0000-0002-9138-2125
Affiliation
Advanced Education Programs, Adjunct Faculty, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS 67601, USA
Coker, David;
ORCID
0000-0001-7720-3728
Affiliation
A/Professor Health Information Management and Health Informatics Research Chair, Higher College of Technology, Abu Dhabi 25026, United Arab Emirates
Awad, Hamzeh;
ORCID
0000-0002-2180-0029
Affiliation
Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, Cairo 11651, Egypt
Reda, Abdullah;
ORCID
0000-0003-3498-6229
Affiliation
Division of Medical Rescue, Faculty of Health Sciences with the Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine, Medical University of Gdańsk, 80-210 Gdansk, Poland
Żuratyński, Przemysław;
Affiliation
Department of Systems Immunology and Braunschweig Integrated Centre of Systems Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany
Khailaie, Sahamoddin

Little is known about monkeypox public concerns since its widespread emergence in many countries. Tweets in Germany were examined in the first three months of COVID-19 and monkeypox to examine concerns and issues raised by the public. Understanding views and positions of the public could help to shape future public health campaigns. Few qualitative studies reviewed large datasets, and the results provide the first instance of the public thinking comparing COVID-19 and monkeypox. We retrieved 15,936 tweets from Germany using query words related to both epidemics in the first three months of each one. A sequential explanatory mixed methods research joined a machine learning approach with thematic analysis using a novel rapid tweet analysis protocol. In COVID-19 tweets, there was the selfing construct or feeling part of the emerging narrative of the spread and response. In contrast, during monkeypox, the public considered othering after the fatigue of the COVID-19 response, or an impersonal feeling toward the disease. During monkeypox, coherence and reconceptualization of new and competing information produced a customer rather than a consumer/producer model. Public healthcare policy should reconsider a one-size-fits-all model during information campaigns and produce a strategic approach embedded within a customer model to educate the public about preventative measures and updates. A multidisciplinary approach could prevent and minimize mis/disinformation.

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