As second wave of COVID-19 infections rages across India, 56 per cent of the participants of a nationwide e-survey voted in favour of getting foreign companies like Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson to conduct clinical trials of their COVID-19 vaccines and make them available in India in the coming months.
The survey, conducted by community social media platform LocalCircles, also found 18 per cent of the respondents or someone in their social network failing to find a vaccine dose when they went for vaccination in the first 10 days of April.
LocalCircles stated that the survey sought to understand how Indian citizens view the vaccination programmes of other countries like US where vaccines of multiple companies are sourced to drive COVID-19 vaccination unlike India's total dependence on two firms. To the question if the Government of India should take a similar approach and get the US-based vaccine makers - Pfizer, J&J, and Moderna - to conduct trials such that these vaccines can also be made available in India by June, 56 per cent of respondents said "Yes", while 33 per cent said "No".
The responses are in line with an earlier survey conducted by the same platform which found that the hesitancy among Indians to take COVID-19 vaccine is on the wane. The increased demand could be leading to shortage, the survey suggests.
"That 18 per cent of citizens or their family/friends facing the issue of going to a vaccination center but not getting the vaccine is something that must be looked into by the central and state governments. The shortage may be due to sub-optimal local distribution, while it is also possible that certain centers or locations have a genuine shortage. It must also be noted that as the second wave of COVID strengthened in India, 77 per cent of citizens in the LocalCircles survey in April expressed interest in taking the vaccine. The number stood at 38 per cent when India started its vaccination drive thereby marking a major decline in vaccine hesitancy in the 80 days period. This decline in vaccine hesitancy could also be contributing to the demand-supply mismatch", a LocalCircles statement said.
The survey captured the responses of over 24,000 persons from 255 districts of India. Among the respondents, 67 per cent were men, 46 per cent hailed from tier 1 cities and 27 per cent from tier 2 cities.
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