32 pc of Bangladeshis want to take covid vaccine now: study

Only 32 percent of Bangladeshis citizens want to take the COVID-19 vaccines now, showing doubts about the vaccine’s effectiveness and side-effects, according to a study of Dhaka University’s Institute of Health Economics.

Overall 84 percent people showed interest to take the vaccine at some stage – after a few weeks, months and years – but did not want to take the vaccine right now as they doubt about efficacy, side-effect and some even believe the vaccines do not work, the study found.

Some 3,560 randomly selected people above 18 years were respondents of the study beginning January 10.

The respondents were from 16 upazilas of eight districts in eight divisions and from Dhaka city area.

The study findings were disclosed in a virtual dissemination on Tuesday.

Lead researcher Syed Abdul Hamid, a professor of the IHE, said that the study showed that 32 percent people showed interest in taking the vaccine immediately.

The study found that 22 per cent would like to take the vaccine after a few weeks, 27 percent after a few months, 3 percent after 1 year and 16 percent do not want to take the vaccine at all.

The reasons for delaying in taking the vaccine were: 54 percent suspect effectiveness of the vaccine, 34 percent fear side effects and 12 percent doubt whether the vaccine works at all.

Financial ability makes a difference in choosing vaccines as the study found 84 per cent of those whose monthly incomes are Tk 20,000 want to take free vaccines but it is 52 per cent for them if they have to pay for the vaccine.

People of income group of Tk 20,000-50,000 said 83 percent of them want to take the vaccine free but 80 percent of them would pay for the vaccine.

High income group of monthly income above Tk 50,000 said they are more likely (91 percent) want to pay for the vaccines.

Rural people are more interested to take the vaccine as the study found 87 percent of the respondents from rural area showed interest to take the vaccine while it was 80 percent in city area.

Buddhists are less interested (66 per cent) to take the vaccine while Muslims (82 per cent), Hindu (97 per cent), Christian (100 per cent), and Atheists (100 per cent) are likely to take the vaccines.

Women (87 per cent) are more interested to take the vaccine than male (82 per cent).

The study recommended taking vaccines by top leaders and iconic persons would increase the acceptance of the vaccines.

‘The government needs to raise awareness about the vaccine and the possible side-effects to beat the misconception and rumour,’ said Hamid.

Co-investigator and IHE associate professor Shafiun Shimul and IHE chairman Nasrin Sultana also spoke.

Bangladesh on Monday received the first consignment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine bought from the Serum Institute of India as 50 lakh doses of the vaccine arrived in Dhaka on a flight from India on the day.

Aslo read: DGDA OKs use of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Bangladesh plans to begin the national COVID-19 vaccination tomorrow, with inoculating a handful of healthcare providers for observation for a week, before rolling out the campaign on February 8 across the country for the selected priority groups.

Bangladesh, which has so far tallied over 8,000 COVID-19 deaths and 5.30 lakh cases, on November 5, 2020 signed the contract with the Serum Institute of India and its local vendor Beximco on the procurement of the three crore doses of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum.

Bangladesh on Thursday received 20 lakh doses of the vaccine as gift from India.

Being a low-income country, Bangladesh with a population of over 160 million people will also receive 6.8 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the global vaccine alliance GAVI under a World Health Organisation pool of vaccines named COVAX formed to ensure the access of poor countries to vaccines.

The COVAX vaccines are due in the country by June 2021.

With public suspicion of COVID-19 vaccine side effects, tens of thousands of people skipped the inoculation in India where the mass vaccination with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine began on January 16, according to media reports.

In Bangladesh, social media platforms are replete with people expressing fear of adverse effects of the vaccine, with many stating that they will not take the shots.

Noted virologist Nazrul Islam said that top government leaders taking the vaccine on camera would encourage people to receive the jabs as they were confused as to whether they should take or avoid the vaccine over after-effects.

‘It’ll be seen as lack of involvement of government leaders in the vaccination programme if they do not publicly take the vaccine,’ he said.

‘People will increasingly doubt the vaccine if the government only demonstrates its duty, not its involvement in the process,’ he added.

Source: United News of Bangladesh