A study conducted by the Directorate of Public Health in Tamil Nadu has found that more than 80% of people who didn't receive the Covid vaccine believe that they will not get affected by the pandemic. The revelation has thrown light on the prevailing vaccine hesitancy and apathy among the general public, which the health authorities fear that it will not only put them at risk but it will also affect their near and dears.
The study has further shown that nearly 48% of people had skipped vaccinations because of the phobia of injection. The public health directorate has done a cross-sectional study at all health units covering 2,855 adults in 95 clusters to assess the prevalence and causes of vaccine hesitancy. The study, which was aimed at gathering evidence for policy reforms, was published in the recent edition of Tamil Nadu's Journal of Public Health and Medical Research.
As per the findings of why people didn't want to take vaccines, 80% of them had believed that the Covid-19 pandemic won't affect them while around 48% of them said that they have a fear of injection. On the other hand, 12% of the people said they will receive the vaccine in the future. More than 80% of people who took the vaccine said they had received the vaccine to curb the disease. Nearly 12% of people said that their workplaces had manded them to take the vaccine while 4% said that they were forced by their friends.
Around 3.3% of people had received the vaccine for the purpose of travel. As the Covid-19 vaccine had led to a major divide in the state, it has been said that the hesitancy is also powered by some external factors like more waiting time. Director of Public Health Dr Selva Vinayagam, who authored the study along with the Institute of Community Health in Madras Medical College, said that the lack of company, distance, long queues, and waiting time were among the reasons why the people are refusing to take the vaccines.
The study has highlighted that the unvaccinated people not only put themselves at risk but also the lives of the people living around them. Selva Vinayagam has cited that the health department was able to address several issues around the vaccination by conducting mega camps and door-to-door vaccinations. He further said, "People came to camps in groups and peers encouraged them to take the vaccine and the fear of side effects was not there. Hesitancy, which was around 50% in 2021, is dropped."