As the Covid second wave is getting stronger in India, the percentage of citizens willing to take the vaccine has gone up to 77 percent, as per a LocalCircles survey. With almost 90,000 daily cases, and vaccination for all above the age of 45 years beginning on April 1, hesitancy levels are down to 23 percent.
Fifty-two percent of citizens who took the vaccine did not have any kind of side effects.
India is firmly in the grip of a second wave of the pandemic as daily cases were increasing unabated across the country.
The country is now recording almost 90,000 daily cases, a peak it had touched in September 2020.
Notably, the kind of rapid surge experienced in India with daily cases going from 16,000 to 90,000 in two weeks also indicates that there may be strains different than the 2020 SARS-COV2 strain propagating in the country.
The government has reportedly claimed that both Covishield and Covaxin vaccines are effective against the UK and Brazilian strains of SARS-COV2, while work against the South African variant is underway at several laboratories, the survey said.
All of these developments have become primary drivers for more people to take the vaccine.
With vaccination for all citizens above 45 beginning on April 1, the daily inoculations are expected to jump to an average of 50 lakh a day. India has already administered over 7 crore vaccine doses.
There haven't been major side effects reported in India.
The National Covid-19 Task Force of India after reportedly considering all "serious" side effects maintained that there are "no immediate concerns" and that the number of adverse events in Indians "very low".
The total adverse events reported are less than 10,000 and adverse event deaths post-vaccination stood at less than 100.
With all of these developments, LocalCircles decided to conduct the survey to understand that with a strengthening second Covid wave whether citizens' hesitancy to take the vaccine has changed and how.
LocalCircles has been collecting responses from citizens to know their willingness to take the vaccine, aimed to understand if the percentage of reluctance or hesitancy amongst citizens has increased, reduced, or is unchanged.
The survey conducted by LocalCircles on March 1, indicated a 36 percent drop in vaccine hesitancy within 45 days with 64 percent willing to take the vaccine.
The latest survey has found out that the percentage of citizens willing to take the vaccine now stands at 77 percent. The percentage of citizens willing to take the vaccine rose from 38 percent at the end of the second week of January 2021 to 40 percent in the third week of January 2021.
It then rose to 42 percent in the first week of February to 50 percent in the second week, to 64 percent in the third week, and is at 77 percent this week.
Seventy-five days after vaccination began, only 23 percent citizens are now hesitant to take it.
The last LocalCircles vaccine hesitancy survey conducted on March 1, indicated that 36 percent of citizens were still hesitant to take the vaccine immediately.
As more people started to take the jab including the Prime Minister and leaders of various states, the hesitancy continued to decline.
The decline was accelerated further after India started seeing a surge of cases starting mid-March with India's daily caseload rising from 16,000 per day on March 14, to near 90,000 per day now.
This week, the percentage of citizens hesitant to take the vaccine now stands at 23 percent.
The survey asked about the kind of side-effects they experienced. In response, 10 percent said "fever, body ache, and soreness in the arm", 5 percent said "fever and soreness in the arm", and 13 percent said "body ache and soreness in the arm".
Only 2 percent of citizens reported that they had side effects more severe than soreness in the arm, body ache, and fever, while 1 percent opted for 'Can't Say.
At an aggregate level, 52 percent of citizens said they "had absolutely no side-effects".
However, since 2 percent of citizens surveyed have said that they "had side effects more severe than the ones above", research must be strengthened into these cases as it will help in improving updates to the vaccine as well as ensuring vaccine protocols take such cases into account especially if there are patterns.
As per Local Circles, in terms of people's preference, Covaxin currently has a slight edge over Covishield.
It should be noted that citizens of India aren't given an option to choose from either Covaxin or Covishield vaccines to get inoculated.
To understand if there was a preference that people had for one over the other, it asked citizens about their preference.
In response, 25 percent citizens said Covishield, and 33 percent said Covaxin.
Breaking down the poll, the majority of 37 percent of citizens said they "don't have a preference".
There were only 5 percent of citizens who maintained that they "would wait for other vaccines to come".
The findings of the survey indicate that a slightly higher percentage of citizens currently have a preference for Covaxin as compared to Covishield, the survey said.