Why do some people still refrain from getting themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 after two massive waves that brought the nation to a standstill for months?

A vast majority of vaccine-hesitant people with no political agenda whatsoever either believe the vaccines to be unscientific or simply remain undecided about their choice to take the jab. 

One of the most common reasons that they cite is fear of side effects from the vaccine, the obvious reason behind it being rumours doing rounds, not just on the internet, but also through word of mouth.

Like all medicines, people might experience some mild side effects like fever and sore body for 1-2 days after getting your vaccination. But it is totally normal and also a sign that the body is learning to fight against the virus. 

Also read: All about COVID-19 vaccine, its effectiveness, side effects & more

“I don’t want to be vaccinated because I think after taking the vaccine I will have to face side effects,” Minu Gaur, a resident of Duliajan, Assam, told EastMojo. “I work as a servant at someone else’s house. I have two kids and my husband doesn’t work. I have to run the whole house alone. If I take the vaccine and fall sick or die who will take the responsibility? no one will look after my kids,” said Gaur who works as a house help.

“I think it’s still not confirmed that I will not get affected by COVID even if I am vaccinated. I am a daily wage earner, and I got married recently. There were some cases where people were dying after taking vaccination, I don’t want to risk my life,” another resident of Duliajan, Gautam, told EastMojo.

The fact that COVID-19 has become a ‘pandemic for the unvaccinated’ has been well covered and dominates communications from public health authorities across the globe. However, millions of Indians who are eligible for shots still choose not to get them. 

Also read: How to decrease COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in young people

Some of those who are sitting out the shot are adamantly opposed to the vaccine while others claim to still be on the fence. Some who may have got their first dose are hesitant to get a second one because they heard someone fall extremely sick or believed some false rumour.

“I will not take the vaccine, because I saw people near me suffering from high fever and side effects. I think I will get sicker after taking the vaccine,” another house help from Guwahati, Assam, told EastMojo. “ I am a widow; I wash dishes and clothes at someone’s house to make my living, I have got no one to look after me. The govt won’t take any responsibility or look after me if I get sick,” she added.

A resident from Dhubri, currently residing in Guwahati said that she has heard rumors that people who are vaccinated will die within the next two years. Even though she has taken the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, she hesitates from taking the second shot.

Also read: COVID-19: How Meghalaya minister Kyrmen Shylla is fighting vaccine hesitancy

“I took the first dose of the vaccine in July and suffered from high fever and body ache. I couldn’t go to work for 4 days. I am a labourer and I usually work at construction sites. Because of the side effects, even after recovering from fever, I could barely work properly,” Anjuara Begum, a daily wage earner, told EastMojo.

So far, over 6 lakh people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Assam according to the data available from the Assam government’s COVID Dashboard. On average, the state is administering about 1.3 lakh doses per day. 

Five lakh people have missed the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine when the second shots were due in Assam. Of this figure, 3.32 lakh missed the Covishield second dose and 1.67 lakh people missed the second jab of Covaxin according to reports available with the state immunization office.

As the pandemic’s ultimate duration still remains unsettled, the news of the third wave of COVID-19 is pushing some people to rush into getting themselves vaccinated. On the other side of the fence, many from economically backward classes still feel they are better off without the shots. 

Also read: COVID-19: Assam’s ‘vaccine man’ goes door-to-door to create awareness

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