AS India has started rolling out the next phase of its Covid-19 vaccination drive for people above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities, a new survey by Harvard researchers has found that vaccine acceptance among women in India is among the highest in the world.
Almost 18,000 women in 16 countries responded to questions about a hypothetical safe and free Covid-19 vaccine with 90 per cent efficacy, according to the survey conducted by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Overall, 52 per cent of pregnant women and 73 per cent of non-pregnant women said they would receive such a vaccine, and 69 per cent of all women surveyed said they would vaccinate their children, showed the results published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.
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Acceptance in India, the Philippines, and Latin American countries was above 60 per cent among pregnant women and above 78 per cent among non-pregnant women for themselves; more than 75 per cent of mothers indicated they would vaccinate their children.
Vaccine acceptance in the US and Russia was lower – below 45 per cent among pregnant women and below 56 per cent among non-pregnant women for themselves and similar to countries with very few Covid-19 cases, such as Australia and New Zealand.
This phenomenon in the US and Russia could be due to Covid-19 denial, according to the researchers.
“Our study confirmed that Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy is multifaceted,” said Harvard Chan School’s Julia Wu, who is senior author of the paper.
“The perceived threat of Covid-19, level of trust in public health agencies, and existing pre-Covid 19 vaccine attitudes play key roles shaping vaccine acceptance and confidence. Vaccination campaigns should be tailored to alleviate these specific concerns.”
Wu and her team asked the survey participants about various topics related to vaccinations and Covid-19.
The strongest predictors of Covid-19 vaccine acceptance among the women surveyed included confidence in Covid-19 vaccine safety or effectiveness.
Pregnant women who were reluctant said they had concerns about exposing their developing baby to possible harmful side effects, the vaccine being rushed for political reasons, and the lack of safety and effectiveness data in pregnant women.
The survey was conducted between late October and mid-November 2020. (IANS/KR)