Initially, when the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced, it brought unprecedented chaos, mayhem and uncertainty until vaccines came out with a hope to mitigate the effects of its untapped infection. And, it happened as “Hope springs eternal”. After vaccines came to the fore, lots of misconceptions and vaccine hesitancy were seen amongst the masses and to some extent, it is still there.
To lay bare the truth around vaccine conundrum, and to understand the opinion of the people around vaccines, their efficacy, and their role in combating the pandemic, Saizen Global Insights & Consulting in collaboration with HEAL Foundation has conducted INDIA VAX-SCENE Survey on vaccine perception in February 2022.
In the survey, 1106 respondents participated from across 9 metro cities of India, with a mean age of 28.7 years. Among them, 45% were women. Of them, 98% has belief in COVID-19 vaccines. And 78-79% are optimistic about life getting back to normal in the next 2-5 years from COVID-19 impacts, wherein 83% believes that vaccines play a critical role in getting back to normal.
The survey has brought one of the unplugged facts as the ‘Swadeshi’ belief has resurfaced because 67% of Indians believe that ‘Made in India’ vaccines are safer than other vaccines developed in foreign countries. And over 90% of Indians believe that vaccine’s role is vital to fight against COVID-19 whereas over 85% believes that COVID vaccines are safe and effective, reposing their hope in the important role vaccines have been playing to fight the pandemic.
Speaking on the remarkable revelation of the survey about the low credibility and traction on social media, Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder HEAL Foundation says, “India VAX-SCENE Survey brings out that how people have relied on credible sources for information on vaccines, side-lining misinformation available on social media. For vaccines, people relied only on professional advice, which is considered credible. Most people trust vaccine-related information coming from scientific bodies, and research institutes. As per the survey, the role of healthcare practitioners in the dissemination of the right kind of information and in educating people at grass root levels has been immense. The survey also points out that there is a need for effective healthcare communication to bust the myths or perceived fears towards vaccines. This also brings the importance of credible information to be shared through effective healthcare communication.”
The survey also brings out that 71% of the people believe that the Indian Govt has done a good job in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. And despite the uncertainty, apprehension, and some sort of fear around, optimism and hope prevail amongst the masses.
“One remarkable fact came out from the survey that despite the information overload on social media, people relied on top 5 most trusted sources of information regarding vaccines. The sources were the World Health Organization (WHO), the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Healthcare providers (physicians, nurses and pharmacists), Prime Minister, and AIIMS. The survey has revealed one more thing that unvaccinated people have higher concerns, and effective healthcare communication is the key to addressing their half-cooked information and convincing them to go for the vaccination without hesitation at the earliest. Women have been found somewhat more worried or less sure about vaccine safety and its efficacy than men. It needs to be addressed by effective healthcare communication,” says, Ms Kavita Gupta, Founder & Director, Saizen Global Insights & Consulting.
India VAX-SCENE Survey also reveals that COVID has brought unwanted worries. Financial and reinfection concerns are bothering people. Many are worried about their children’s development as they are missing out on regular classes.
Reiterating on the losses children have undergone during the pandemic, Dr Richa Gupta, Consultant Paediatrician says, “Pandemic has definitely affected children as they had to be confined in and they have majorly missed out on social interactions/classroom, school or college activities. For the overall development of children, these are critical.”
The India VAX-SCENE Survey conducted online has brought together lots of findings around COVID-19 and vaccines, and the pandemic, which is quite useful for healthcare communicators, policymakers, and even for the common man to lend a helping hand to fight and overcome the scourge of pandemic.