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Coronavirus | No appetite for paid vaccines, finds rural survey

Health officials have clarified that vaccination is not mandatory. Representational photo  

Less than half (44%) the respondents in a survey of rural households were willing to pay for vaccination against COVID-19 while 36% said outright that they would not pay for it.

Conducted by Gaon Connection, a rural media platform, the ‘COVID-19 Vaccine and Rural India’ survey was conducted across 60 districts in 16 States and one Union Territory with a sample size of 6,040 households. The researchers conducted face-to-face interviews with the respondents on the perceptions of rural Indians around the vaccine.

Since affordability is a big issue in rural areas, respondents were asked if they hypothetically had to pay ₹1,000 for two doses of the vaccine, then who would get vaccinated first in their family. To this, more than 33% of the respondents said they would vaccinate their old parents.

Asked if the government had to prioritise vaccination, who should be given the top priority, 43.5% of those surveyed said it should be doctors and nurses.

The Gaon Connection survey also aimed to find out beliefs and practices around COVID-19, a new disease.

Conspiracy theories

More than 51% respondents said the disease was a “conspiracy by China”, 22% believed it was a failure of people to take precautions and 18% believed this was the government’s failure, noted the study.

The survey also found that half the respondents were spending more money during the pandemic on buying and consuming packaged immunity boosting products, such as chyawanprash, giloy, kadah, vitamin tablets, etc.

“COVID-19 has also changed the food habits of rural citizens with almost 70% respondents saying they had stopped eating outside food. Over 33% said they had started eating more vegetables, whereas 30% said they were eating more fruits,” noted the survey.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 9:14:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-appetite-for-paid-vaccines-finds-rural-survey/article33394590.ece

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