New Delhi: The percentage of Indians willing to take the Covid-19 vaccine rose to 77 per cent from 38 per cent in the three months India has been carrying out its vaccination drive, according to a new study.
This comes at a time when the country is seeing a second Covid wave and registered over 80,000 new cases on 2 April.
The survey, released Friday, was conducted last week by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, and covered over 27,000 respondents in 299 districts, out of which 67 per cent were men and 33 per cent were women.
It noted a steady rise in the number of people willing to take the vaccines and also revealed that 52 per cent of citizens who took the vaccines did not go through any side-effects.
According to the survey, the percentage of citizens willing to take the vaccine rose from 38 per cent at the end of the second week of January 2021 to 40 per cent in the third week of January. It then rose to 42 per cent in the first week of February to 50 per cent in the second week, to 64 per cent in the third week, and stands at 77 per cent as of 1 April.
India had begun its national vaccination programme on 16 January.
Vaccine hesitancy down
The earlier survey by LocalCircles, released on 1 March, showed 36 per cent of citizens were still hesitant about getting vaccinated.
The latest survey noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders taking their vaccine doses in the beginning of March may have led to the decline in hesitancy.
The decline was further accelerated after India saw a surge of Covid cases starting mid-March — from 16,000 cases on 14 March to over 80,000 cases on 2 April.
The percentage of citizens hesitant to take the vaccine now stands at 23 per cent.
Mild side-effects of vaccine
Among the respondents who had received the vaccination, 52 per cent said they had absolutely no side effects, 17 per cent said they only suffered soreness in the arm and 13 per cent mentioned they suffered body ache and soreness in the arm.
Another 10 per cent claimed they suffered from fever, body ache and soreness in the arm and only 2 per cent complained of having side-effects more severe than soreness in the arm and body ache. Only 1 per cent of the respondents refused to reveal anything.
The survey also found that Covaxin currently has a slight edge over Covishield as 33 per cent of the respondents said they preferred the Indian made vaccine, developed by Bharat Biotech, while 22 per cent opted for Covishield, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
Thirty seven per cent of the people said they didn’t have any preference and another 5 per cent said they would wait for another alternative vaccine.
The report also mentioned that 75 per cent of Indians were in favour of opening vaccination for people in the age group between 18-45 years during after-hours at private hospitals and labs, even if for a slightly higher charge, so that the regular vaccination drive is not disrupted.
(Edited by Debalina Dey)