Covid-19 vaccination: Fear, myths & rumours inject vaccine hesitancy

Synopsis – What is the cause of vaccine hesitancy in India and what needs to be done to address this issue.  


According to community survey across 299 Indian districts, 17-18 % of eligible people are reluctant to take the vaccine. Furthermore, 11% are concerned about the effectiveness of currently existing vaccines. 

Causes of vaccine hesitancy 
  • Lack of credible information about vaccine and its after effects-Many people are afraid to take vaccine due to concerns over safety, efficacy and possible side effects of the vaccine.  People are not aware of common and temporary side effect of the vaccine like fever and body ache after the injection. 
  • Religious propaganda that the vaccine may contain animal-derived, microbes, chemicals and products which is forbidden by religious laws. 
  • Lack of access to vaccine – long gap between the doses also injects vaccine hesitancy, while some forgetting to get the second shot.  
  • Inconvenience factor – people hesitate to participate in the vaccination drive due to the difficulties that they must face in accessing the vaccine. 
  • Disinformation, especially on social media – Social media has seen a rising number of self-proclaimed experts who have been making unsubstantiated claims. 
  • For example- Some social media posts advise people to avoid alcohol for 60 days following vaccination, which adds to their reluctance. 
What needs to be done to address vaccine hesitancy? 
  • Make public aware- Government need to run awareness workshops for community leaders and social mobilisers at the block levels to dispel any doubts about vaccine. 
  • Use Social Media Platforms to counter any disinformation regarding vaccines and spread awareness. 
  • Social media platform should make sure that users only get to see the credible, science-based information about the vaccines. 
  • There is need to identify vaccine hesitant areas/group/community based on prior experience of vaccine programmes like polio.  
  • Engage local influencers to persuade people– The influential person or celebrities should come forward to dispel doubts leading to Vaccine hesitancy. 
  • Ensure credible information- Vaccine producers must provide scientific and trustworthy information in addition to declaring figures related to efficacy, which only fey understand.  
  • Make vaccination a compulsory condition to join office. 
Way forward- 

In the fight against the pandemic, complete vaccination is one of the most important weapons in the arsenal. Therefore, the issue of vaccine hesitancy must be addressed immediately. The Government must take aggressive steps to address the cause behind vaccine hesitancy. 

Source- The Business Standard 

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