Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a challenge to convey the right scientific message that can help people. Specially when it comes to the vaccine or keeping mask on. It’s not about literacy. Many times educated people are more rigid than uneducated ones. Why people are still hesitant to take covid vaccination? Why 100% vaccination is still a challenge even in 21st century? Why are people believing their local political or religious leader above science? Denying scientific research and disbelieve facts and data led to the biggest hurdle in treating covid disease currently.
Understanding is more important than being educated: Vaccine hurdle
Losses due to covid are tremendous. Everyone suffers due to covid directly or indirectly. Many families get separated, people are losing their jobs, have severe health issues or even death for their loved ones and social life is getting disrupted. Vaccine provides a ray of hope in fighting against covid disease and has a more positive impact in this negative phase. Back to normal can be possible if more and more vaccinations get possible. Both AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine shows more than 90% reduction in hospitalization rate. But still, 100% vaccination is far from reach. Fighting with people’s mindset and their beliefs is still a challenge. And despite the fact even developed countries like the USA face difficulty in full vaccination. (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/world/covid-vaccinations-tracker.html) According to recent data published in the International monetary fund approximately 10% of people in the UK, 50% in Japan, and 60% in France are still reluctant to take covid vaccine shots. There are people in the world who don’t have access to either medical facilities or vaccination and on the other hand, there are people like in the USA who are refusing to take the vaccination.
To attain herd immunity, it is our collective responsibility to make vaccines accessible to everyone and spread the scientific data.
Rumors or myths because of which people are hesitant to take vaccination:
- Vaccine can make a person ill: Covid Vaccine is not based on live virus so it can not cause covid for sure. Every vaccine has side effects as it reacts with our immune system that leads to body changes, but they are temporary, and a person recovers soon from these side effects. There are around 10% of people around the world who are afraid of the needle. On the contrary, Covid symptoms can be severe, affect multiple organs and have long-lasting effects, and can be fatal in some cases. the mRNA-1273 vaccine has reported being 94.1% efficacy in phase 3 randomized trial data (Baden et al. 2020).
- Require several doses of the vaccine: Every shot will give you a better memory response and that leads to long-term immunity. A study from Israel is approved for the booster dose for people above the age of 60 (Bar-On et al. 2021).
- Vaccine makes you infertile: No scientific data suggests A study conducted to measure before and after receiving a second dose of mRNA vaccine, sperm quantity and quality don’t affect significantly (Gonzalez et al. 2021).
- Vaccine is harmful to certain races/ethnicity: Virus, disease, and vaccine response is a universal phenomenon and cannot target any specific race or ethnicity. Clinical trials are always including a diverse population. For example, first, two covid vaccine trial in the USA includes population range from Black to Hispanic, immunocompromised or old age to young healthy people, and a person suffering from diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease, etc. (Flores et al. 2021). According to CDC USA data for demographic trend for taking a single dose of vaccine in the USA suggested that Non-Hispanic White have taken a higher percentage of vaccination compared to Hispanics/Latinos and Non-Hispanic Black
- Vaccination cause autism in kids: No data suggested so far.
- Covid Vaccine is not for people who are suffering from insect, food, or pollen allergy. If you are concerned with allergic reaction search for vaccine ingredients and then talk to your doctor and then make a decision to get vaccinate or not.
- COVID vaccine is not successful in case of new emerging variant: Data from various sentients across the globe suggested that vaccinated individuals getting infected with covid have lesser chances than a non-vaccinated person in case of emerging new covid variant.
- If someone already had a covid infection, then no need to take vaccination: Vaccination provides better immunity to recovered individuals and protects for future covid infection.
- COVID has mild infection symptoms especially in young ones so no need for vaccination in these people: Even if younger people have mild symptoms or no symptoms, but they can serve as a carrier that can cause other immunocompromised or older people to have more severe Covid symptoms.
- Doubt about vaccine trials: For any vaccination to be approved by a government agency such as WHO or FDA, it requires extensive research work followed by three phases of the trial so leads to immense input and efforts.
We need community or health care worker leaders who can dispel all myths about vaccination.
In summary whatever the reason for people to avoid or fear of vaccine should be taken care of seriously. Vaccine distrust is a health threat recognized by WHO. Scientific data about vaccine efficacy should be discussed and promoted on various social media platforms so that people get to understand the importance of vaccines and herd immunity. The good news is that because of social awareness few previously hesitant people are turned out to be willing to take vaccines but still, we need to fight more on this issue. So, the confidence in vaccination is arising with time. But Delayed vaccination is increasing more chances for new variants to emerge as non-vaccinated people are more prone to covid infection and lead to the origin of SARS-COV2 new variants.