61% Indians sceptical about Covid vaccine even if it came in 2021: Survey

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About 61 per cent of people have claimed they are sceptical about the Covid-19 vaccine and will not rush to take it in 2021 even if it is available, a survey revealed on Friday.

Scientists from around the world, including India are developing several vaccines that are at different stages of clinical trials. The central government maintains it has started to gear up to take these vaccines to every citizen.

‘LocalCircles’ conducted a survey to know the tentative perception of peoples’ reaction when the Government takes Covid-19 vaccine to them finally. It also sought to know peoples’ current behaviour facing COVID-19 threats, and for how long will they continue to endure the suffering from the pandemic. The survey received over 25,000 responses from over 225 districts of India.

The complexity of the COVID-19 disease has put formidable challenges for scientists to develop a safe and effective vaccine. A host of pharmaceutical companies are heavily engaged in trials for a vaccine but when a vaccine does become available in March-April 2021, it is important that there is a certain level of trust that people have in the vaccine.

To the question that asked respondents, “If the COVID-19 vaccine became available in the early part of next year, would you like to get it so you can go back to your pre-COVID lifestyle?”, 61 per cent of 8,312 respondents said they are sceptical about the COVID-19 vaccine and will not rush to take it in 2021 even if it is available.

Only 12 per cent respondents said would get vaccinated and go back to living pre-COVID lifestyle, while 25 per cent said they will get vaccinated but still will not go back to pre-COVID lifestyle, and 10 per cent said they will not take it at all in 2021.

In July, Indians via LocalCircles raised the issue of an urgent need to develop serial number tracking of COVID-19 vaccine to avoid any black marketing and to track the vaccine from point of manufacturing to the point of administration.

The key action needed here by both the pharmaceutical industry and the Government is to keep citizens updated at every step about the vaccine via various media platforms so when a safe vaccine does arrive, the Indian citizenry is ready to take it.

Respondents were also asked how they feel mentally after eight months into the Covid-19 pandemic. Of 8,590 respondents, 33 per cent said they feel anxious or worried, 19 per cent said calm and happy, 13 per cent said depressed, 5 per cent said enthusiastic, 20 per cent said they were feeling thankful, while 10 per cent said none of the above.

India is currently in the fifth phase of unlocking, which has seen most restrictions removed. The Unlock 5.0 guidelines allow states and union territories to take a call on determining the capacity of people allowed to gather, along with the call to open schools, cinemas, multiplexes, among others.

While the Central and State Governments are permitting various services like markets, restaurants, metros, multiplexes, markets, parks etc. to operate the general guidelines are still to minimize social interactions, maximize social distancing, always wear mask when out of home and in general avoid crowded public places.

These restrictions have led to change in lifestyle for majority of the people across the country. Work from Home model has been implemented by many businesses, also leading to a significant change in the lifestyles of their employees.

To understand if people are tired of the new pandemic induced lifestyle, LocalCircles asked people, “How long do you think you can easily sustain this post Covid way of living with restriction?”

Out of 8,496 citizens participated, of which 38 per cent said they are willing to live the Covid-19 way of living for as long as it takes, while 23 per cent said they are already tired of the restrictions.

While 14 per cent each said till December 31, 2020 and till March 31, 2021, 6 per cent said till June 30, 2021, 2 per cent said till September 30, 2021, and 3 per cent said till Dec 31, 2021.

If the numbers are added up, 63 per cent citizens feel they can easily sustain the post Covid way of living with restrictions till March 31, 2021.