India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is not going great. Vaccine hesitancy is widespread, which means it’s going to take that much longer for Indians to build herd immunity to the same level as their herd mentality.
So, why are Indians hesitating so much over corona vaccine? What are they thinking? Well, in a development that is certain to intrigue most strains of the coronavirus, an all-India survey conducted by the Pune-based National Adangapidari Institute of Virile Epidemiology (NAIVE) has revealed that 56.5% of Indians actually believe doing kapalbhati for 13 minutes a day can provide much more immunity against COVID-19 than any known vaccine. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The survey discovered many more things that mainstream media will never show you.
For instance, the survey also found that only 43.7% of Indians still believed clapping and banging utensils can overpower the virus. This is astonishing given that a whopping 92% believed in this remedy at the start of the pandemic. This drastic erosion of faith has been attributed to the new strain of the coronavirus. Indeed, research conducted by the Ghatkopar-based AYUSH Mankhurrana Centre for Alternative Medicine (AMCAM) has found that the Johnson strain of the coronavirus (named in honour of the U.K. prime minister) has mutations that make it completely deaf, thereby rendering it immune to high-decibel measures such as clapping, utensil-banging, and protesting at Singhu border.
Go, corona, go
One speciality of the latest NAIVE survey is that for the first time it makes available segment-wise break-up of data. It found, for instance, that 76% of Congress voters, and 95% of those in love with Rahul Gandhi, were convinced that tweeting vigorously against the coronavirus will make it go away on its own.
As for supporters of the ruling party, 97% of them believed that the best vaccine was the one based on m-RNA technology. For those who don’t know, the m-RNA vaccine works like this: it first converts the RNA of the coronavirus into a religious structure, then demolishes it, and then builds a new religious structure using m-RNA (the RNA of the majority). By making the coronavirus harmless only to the majority (who comprise 77% of the nation’s population), the m-RNA vaccine manages to easily surpass the herd immunity target of 60%.
Coming to the judiciary, the survey found that 75% of the judges believed that the coronavirus had caught India pants down, while 82% believed that the virus’s actions amounted to contempt.
On the other hand, as many as 65% of Bollywood actors believed that if they had taken a selfie with the virus at the right time, they would have been assured of lifetime immunity. About 55% of Bollywood respondents, especially producers, believed that no vaccine could be as effective as an apology on demand. “Just admit that you inadvertently offended the virus community and apologise to the coronavirus. Your COVID-19 symptoms will disappear,” a Bollywood producer renowned for making flops on demand was quoted by the survey as saying.
Among economists, 91% believed that for India to overcome the coronavirus, the government must first privatise all antibodies. “The government should get out of the immune system. That will empower the invisible hand of the non-existent vaccine to isolate the virus and wring its neck,” a renowned economist and former member of NITI Aayog was quoted by the survey as saying.
Interestingly, among gau rakshaks (cow protectors), 99.8% believed that both Covaxin and Covishield vaccines were produced from special ingredients extracted from the hair on the tail of a cow (only desi breeds, not cows of Jersey or Manchester United variety). Understandably, 98.8% of them wanted Covaxin and Covishield to be renamed as Cowaxin and Cowishield respectively. In Uttar Pradesh, the percentage of gau rakshaks who wanted this name change was 100%.
Among television news anchors, 91% believed that a TRP-based vaccine would be more effective than either Covaxin or Covishield. Also, while 89% of them believed that screaming strengthens immunity, 82% of those who took the survey said they followed the motto, “One big lie at prime time keeps the virus away for all time”.
As for the liberals, the authors of the NAIVE survey observe that they found it extremely difficult to identify bona fide liberals. They have cautioned that their data on liberals needs further authentication as the respondents could also have been closet fascists posing as liberals. Having added that caveat, the survey found that 77% of Indian liberals wanted the human body to open up its immune system to foreign capital, so that foreign genetic investors — more commonly known as viruses — can give employment to Indian antibodies.
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G. Sampath is Social Affairs Editor , The Hindu.