Date of Submission


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Health Science


Health Sciences

First Advisor

Jessica Holzer, PhD, MA

Second Advisor

Alvin Tran, ScD, MPH

Third Advisor

Spring C. Cooper, Ph.D.


COVID-19 Vaccines, Pregnancy


Social media and society, COVID-19 vaccines, Pregnancy


There are more than 14 million pregnancies each year in the United States and more than 85% of those pregnant people seek information online about concerns they may have relating to pregnancy complications, the newborn period, and stress. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic compounded pregnancy challenges and health considerations due to uncertainty surrounding the virus and vaccine despite the experts’ recommendations about the importance and safety of the vaccine for pregnant people. Among online information sources, social media is a key source for pregnant people seeking information. Unfortunately, social media’s impact on health decision-making is poorly understood. This is especially pronounced in the case of emerging diseases and treatments, such as the vaccine for COVID-19. This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews to explore the relationship between social media usage and receiving a COVID vaccine, including whether the COVID vaccine is perceived differently than other vaccines for pregnancy and whether certain types of social media have greater influence. The sample was drawn from two clinics in Central Florida in early 2023 using purposive sampling. The Social Network Theory guided the development of the research to explore how strong and weak connections on social media affect pregnant people’s decision-making around the COVID-19 vaccine. The results show that there were highly influential content creators on the platforms that the participants utilized and there was a relationship between social media usage and delayed COVID-19 vaccine uptake in pregnant people. Furthermore, the results suggest that social media is having an adverse effect and pregnant people are hesitating around the COVID-19 vaccine. Officials and health professionals must examine the influence of social media more thoroughly and assess the many sources of information that affect decisions around vaccination among pregnant people.

Available for download on Sunday, November 02, 2025