India’s mega vaccination drive to immunise its citizens against coronavirus is facing hurdles due to shortage of vaccines, lack of trained staff & insufficient healthcare infrastructure. Additionally, vaccine hesitancy has been reported in both rural and urban areas.
The Deccan Chronicle has recently reported that vaccine hesitancy is as high as 74.53%.
As we began fact-checking the Deccan Chronicle report, we found that the text of the report does not attribute any source to back its claim of high vaccine hesitancy in the country.
We also found that the aforementioned report quotes AIIMS director, Dr Randeep Guleria, whereas Guleria merely urges the doctors’ community to address vaccine hesitancy.
A Google search with relevant keywords reveals that different media outlets have different approaches towards estimating vaccine hesitancy in India. It is pertinent to note that none of the media reports, aside from the above-mentioned report, have provided any data on the number of Indians who are hesitant to get vaccinated.
From the results of above-mentioned Google search, we found a report published by Times of India that features a survey on vaccine hesitancy in the country. According to the survey, vaccine hesitancy in both rural and urban areas is falling further. The survey reveals that a whooping 78% of the urban respondents are ‘extremely willing to take vaccines’ whereas 74% of the rural respondents reacted affirmatively when asked about getting vaccinated.
The reporter who authored the article, when contacted by Newchecker, attributed this to Dr Randeep Guleria’s presentation in a webinar.
A Youtube search led us to a webinar video published by ‘AIG Hospitals’, titled COVID-19: Lessons Learnt & Future Strategies, presented by Telangana State Medical Council (TSMC). Speaking at the webinar held by the Telangana State medical council, Dr Guleria said that vaccine hesitancy is a cause for concern.
At 1 hr 03 mins & 33 seconds into the video, he cited two papers published on the matter adding that one study found willingness to take the vaccine at 75 % and a Lancet study pegged the vaccine acceptance at more than 90%.
According to the presentation, 74.53% people responded in affirmation when they were asked ‘If a COVID-19 vaccine is proven safe and effective and is available, whether or not they will take it’.
Dr Randeep Guleria later clarified the same details to Newscheker that on the basis of published studies, more than 75% Indians are willing to take a vaccine as a preventative measure for covid and to break the chain of its spread.
Dr Randeep Guleria