India’s vaccine hesitancy falls by 7% amid inoculation drive: Survey

The survey was held from from January 16 to 18 among 17,000 respondents in 230 districts to ascertain if attitudes towards taking the vaccines had changed

Vaccine
32 per cent said they will take it, 6 per cent said they will take it whenever the vaccines are made available through private hospitals and channels, and 3 per cent said they will decide in 2022. Representational photo

Days after India kick-started its massive inoculation drive, a survey has revealed that the number of people sceptical of taking the COVID-19 vaccine has fallen from 69 per cent in December 2020 to 62 per cent in January 2021 in the country.

LocalCircles, a community social media platform, evaluated the acceptance of coronavirus vaccines in India during January 16-18, by surveying about 17,000 respondents in 230 districts to ascertain if attitudes towards taking vaccines had changed, reported ThePrint.

In a survey they had conducted in October 2020, 61 per cent were found hesitant towards taking taking the vaccines. However, in a survey in November, the number had fallen to 59 per cent apparently due to the announcement of efficacy results of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The two vaccines are, however, not available in India.

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But doubts crept back in, raising reluctance among people. Hesitancy increased to 69 per cent through December and early January after an adverse reaction was reported for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Covishield, and a dispute over the trial process with one of the Bharat Biotech partners.

The hesitancy again dipped by 7 per cent – from 69 per cent in December 2020 to 62 per cent – as per the survey conducted between January 16 and 18. The survey said this was perhaps “largely due to the fact that people have watched and read about the vaccination drives kicking off in their own districts.”

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Out of 8,658 responses, 32 per cent said they will take the vaccine, 6 per cent said they’ll take it whenever the vaccines are made available through private hospitals and channels, and 3 per cent said they will decide in 2022.

As for the reasons for being hesitant to take the vaccines, according to the survey, the primary concerns were the side-effects and vaccine efficacy.

So far, more than 10 lakh people have been vaccinated across the nation. The two vaccines approved for restricted emergency use in India are Covishield, which is being produced by the Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

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