Health Sentiments in Populations

Dr Nick Jones (Mathematics) 

This suite of projects considers how health sentiments depend on socio-demographic conditions of individuals and on their social relations. We have worked with the EU, WHO and Indian partners studying variation in the proportions of people being vaccinated and in the rate at which people express concerns about vaccination. We also study the role of social networks and how they can be inferred given partial behavioural information.

imageThe project participants are:

  • Alex de Figueiredo PDRA
  • Till Hoffmann PDRA
  • Antonia Godoy-Lorite PDRA
  • Sahil Loomba PhD student
  • Matt Garrod PhD student
  • Johannes Happenhoffer PhD student

The collaborators are:

  • Heidi Larson from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Sumeet Agarwal from IIT Delhi


  • Our work studying Vaccine confidence [A] was presented to a French National Commission on Vaccination and led to the expansion of mandated vaccines [1,2]. In turn this lead to marked drops in infections [3].
  • Our work in [A,B] lead to us building a prototype inference tool to study Vaccine coverage with the WHO.
  • We have secured a Gates grant with researchers at INCLEN, IIT Delhi and JNU concerning vaccine coverage and hesitancy in India.
  • Our work [A] lead to a large-scale confidence survey by the Wellcome Trust — which is written up in [E].
  • Our work [A] lead to two large-scale confidence surveys by the EU which is written up in [C,D].
  • Our work [F] pointed towards a persuasive role for COVID vaccine misinformation and yielded an information video by UN [4].
  • We showed how social network structure could be inferred from purely behavioural information and how changing inequalities could shift network structure and behaviour [F]. This work suggests influence strategies in public health campaigns [G].
  • We inferred a metric for social distance between individuals which holds across societies. [H]
  • We showed how to extract clusters/communities from sets of time series while averaging out over link uncertainties [K]
  • We used UK surveys to predict areas and demographics likely to be vaccine hesitant with respect to COVID [L]

The output papers are:


[G] arXiv:2011.05774 
Influencing dynamics on social networks without knowledge of network microstructure
Matthew Garrod, Nick S. Jones
Subjects: Physics and Society (physics.soc-ph); Statistical Mechanics (cond-mat.stat-mech); Social and Information Networks (cs.SI); Optimization and Control (math.OC

[F] arXiv:2003.07146 
Inference and Influence of Large-Scale Social Networks Using Snapshot Population Behaviour without Network Data
Antonia Godoy-Lorite, Nick S. Jones
Subjects: Social and Information Networks (cs.SI); Physics and Society (physics.soc-ph)

[L] Sub-national forecasts of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance across the UK: a large-scale cross-sectional spatial modelling study
A de Figueiredo


[A] The State of Vaccine Confidence 2016: Global Insights Through a 67-Country Survey
Ebiomedicine BLOG article, Commentary, Science article
Heidi Larson, Alex de Figueiredo, Xiahong Z, Will Schulz, Pierre Verger, Iain G. Johnston, Alex Cook, Nick S. Jones

[B] Forecasting time-series trends in vaccination coverage and their links with socio-economic factors: A global analysis over 30 years
Lancet Global Health BLOG article, Commentary
Alex de Figueiredo, Iain G. Johnston, David M.D. Smith, Sumeet Agarwal, Heidi Larson, Nick S. Jones

[C] State of vaccine confidence in the EU 2018
H Larson, A de Figueiredo, E Karafillakis, M Rawal
European Commission

[D] State of vaccine confidence in the EU and UK 2020
A de Figueiredo, E Karafillakis, H Larson
European Commission,

[E] Mapping global trends in vaccine confidence and investigating barriers to vaccine uptake: a large-scale retrospective temporal modelling study
A de Figueiredo, C Simas, E Karafillakis, P Paterson, HJ Larson
The Lancet 396 (10255), 898-908

[F] Measuring the impact of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on vaccination intent in the UK and USA
S Loomba, A de Figueiredo, SJ Piatek, K de Graaf, HJ Larson
Nature Human Behaviour, 1-12

[H] Inference of a universal social scale and segregation measures using social connectivity kernels
Journal of the Royal Society Interface, BLOG article
Hoffmann T, Jones NS

Local trends in immunisation coverage across Africa
A de Figueiredo, F Were
The Lancet 393 (10183), 1779-1781

[K] Community detection in networks without observing edges
Science Advances, BLOG articles
Hoffmann T, Peel L, Lambiotte R, Jones NS

Further material:
[1] Transcript from Concertation Citoyenne sur la Vaccination Quote is from p262
[2] Lévy-Bruhl D, Desenclos JC, Quelet S, Bourdillon F., 2018, Extension of French vaccination mandates: from the recommendation of the Steering Committee of the Citizen Consultation on Vaccination to the law. Eurosurveillance. 26;23 
[3] Lévy-Bruhl, D, Fonteneau, L, Vaux, S, Barret, AS, Antona, D, Bonmarin, I, Che, D, Quelet, S and Coignard, B, 2019, Assessment of the impact of the extension of vaccination mandates on vaccine coverage after 1 year, France. Eurosurveillance, 24;26. (Archived here)