Pfizer Gets the Thumbs-Up

by Kim Johnson, SMACC Student Analyst

As the pandemic continues to be relevant in our daily lives, there is now something we can be sure about… The Pfizer vaccine is finally FDA approved! Yes, you read that right. Even with the  amount of certainty this vaccine holds, there are still a lot of questions and concerns. There are two visible and different views on this topic. Two other vaccines by the names of “Moderna” and “Johnson and Johnson” have been in the spotlight as well. These two have gotten a lot more heat. Johnson and Johnson had to get recalled because of all the negative reactions. This leads numerous people to the question of what vaccine takes the cake for being superior. Even with such crucial findings there are still people who remain against getting the vaccine. Whether that is you or not, I am not here to persuade you anyway. I want to discuss the data around what people are still feeling like when using the the hashtag #pfizer and the word “approval.” Obviously having the FDA’s approval is going to be something that strikes the media everywhere.

All the data that I sorted through is through the database Meltwater. This software is what allowed me to search and sort through the thousands of tweets accurately. When searching through the data, I was trying to decipher what range of dates I wanted to look through. Since the vaccine was approved not even a week ago it would be most relevant to look through the last 7 days of data.

When skimming throughout the Top Social Posts, there were a few tweets in particular that caught the Twitter world’s attention The top three Twitter posts that received the most reach were: @EconomicTimes with a reach of 3.99 million, @Alyssa_Milano with a reach of 3.67 million, and @abplivenews with a reach of 1.82 million.

When deciding what accounts to use I took into consideration the credentials of each account and what they do. @EconomicTimes and @abplivenews are two credited accounts that update and inform the public on what is happening in the world. @Alyssa_Milano is a well known activist with well over a million followers. The commonality is that these accounts reach millions of people with the content they post.


To clarify, reach is an estimate of the audience size based on the total number of followers of social media accounts.

Accounts with the most reach, including The Economic Times and Alyssa Milano.
Screenshot from Meltwater showing the accounts with the largest reach.

Something that did pique my interest was the social volume versus the social reach. Social volume in this data expresses how many people posted using the #Pfizer and the word approval. Social reach defines the amount of people who saw the tweet on their page.

Because the vaccines have been out for a while, I knew there was going to be a significant change in how many people are talking about it and how far this information has spread. On August 22nd (the day before Pfizer was approved) 720,000 accounts were reached by using the #Pfizer or the word approval. The social volume ended up being only 72 accounts who created a tweet using those keywords.

These numbers are crucial because it means thousands upon thousands of people are talking and interacting with these tweets. Even though only 72 people formed tweets, the amount of people who engaged with it was powerful.

A comparison of the number of posts and the potential audience of the posts.
Social volume vs. social reach

The moment everyone was waiting for… On August 23rd, the FDA officially put out into the world that Pfizer was legit. On that same day, the social volume and reach skyrocketed. The social volume was at 2,039. That was a 2924% change from just the previous day. The reach went up to 25.5 million. These findings do not surprise me because this pandemic is affecting the entire world.  The bar graph below exemplifies that #Pfizer and the word approval were worldwide.

A list of the locations of posts containing the hashtag #pfizer.
Locations of posts containing the hashtag #pfizer

From the data, we can see that this is a much talked about subject. Especially on the day of approval. But not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Very conclusive data was found when looking at the sentiment analysis. I found that on the day Pfizer was approved there was a 62% negative sentiment and a 38% negative sentiment. Sentiment it is an estimate of a post’s overall emotional quality based on its keywords. Posts might express positive emotions or negative emotions.

I decided to filter through the tweets that were proclaimed negative to see if there was a trend or misinterpretation. I found that a lot of the tweets that were deemed negative, weren’t outright bad. The picture below is a prime example of how words  can have a negative connotation but have an overall positive meaning.

An example of miscoded sentiment analysis in a post. Text reads "wouldn't you be the first in line to get #vaccinated, espcially if #pfizer has Full FDA Approval? Now you shouldn't have any excuse!!"
An example of miscoded sentiment analysis in a post.

The constant talk about the pandemic is something I am sure people are getting tired of, but is vastly important. We need to continue to keep ourselves safe, educated, and informed. With that being said, the Moderna vaccine is in the works of potentially being approved too. Keep a lookout on your local news channels. This data can help companies like the CDC and FDA take their next steps when putting new information out there.

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