Data | Confidence in COVID-19 vaccines remains high among Indians

Among the tiny share who expressed unwillingness to take a vaccine, the major concern was side-effects

Published - December 11, 2020 08:49 pm IST

A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is seen ahead of being administered at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is seen ahead of being administered at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday, a 90-year-old U.K. resident became the first person to receive a shot of the ”fully tested” Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

As the world’s first mass inoculation campaign begins, the issue of vaccine hesitancy, identified by the WHO as one of the top 10 threats to global health, looms large. For instance, 27% of respondents in an Ipsos survey in October 2020 disagreed when asked whether they would get vaccinated for COVID-19, if it were made available.

However, vaccine hesitancy is less likely to affect India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, as a very high share opined in surveys that inoculations are safe and effective.

All vaccines

In December 2019, more than 84% of Indians thought that “vaccines are effective,” the highest share among 149 nations surveyed in a vaccine confidence study published by ‘The Lancet’ journal. Also, 82% of Indians thought that “vaccines are safe,” the sixth-highest share.


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COVID-19 vaccine

The confidence of Indians in vaccine safety and effectiveness in general came across in the recent COVID-19 vaccine acceptance surveys. More than 90% of Indians either strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, “If a new COVID-19 vaccine became publicly available, I would take it”, presented as part of a survey conducted by ORB International between June 10 and July 22, 2020. Only 8% of Indians disagreed, the lowest share among all the nations surveyed, and about 1% said they do not know.

Also read: U.S. panel recommends authorisation of Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine

Concerns remain

A survey conducted in October 2020 by Ipsos in partnership with the World Economic Forum confirmed Indians’ belief in vaccine safety. Only 13% either strongly disagreed or disagreed with the statement, “If a vaccine for COVID-19 were available, I would get it.”

Of those who disagreed, 34% were worried about the side effects; 16% were concerned about the rapid pace of clinical trials ; 14% thought it would not be effective; 14% felt that their risk of contracting COVID-19 would be low ; 19% were against vaccines in general; and 2% had other reasons.

Also read: Coronavirus | SII, Bharat Biotech emergency vaccine authorisation on hold

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