Chennai, Aug 9 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu health department is to chalk out new strategies on vaccine awareness as a survey commissioned by the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine revealed that the vaccine hesitancy among the senior citizens is high at 27.5 percent.
The survey, "Vaccine hesitancy" conducted in July revealed that most of the senior citizens were reluctant to get vaccinated. While some were not aware of the benefits of vaccination, some of the senior citizens were of the ill-conceived notion that they would not contract the virus. A section of the senior population was afraid of injections while another section was afraid of whether they would contract any infections after the jab. Some of the seniors did not know as to where they should approach to get vaccines.
The survey was conducted among 95 clusters chosen randomly with each cluster comprising 90 random houses. A total of 2,048 senior citizens were approached and of this, only 1,048 were vaccinated. While 246 got both doses of vaccine 802 people could get only a single dose.
Three age groups -- 18-44, 45-60, and above 60 -- were subjected to the survey, and among them, the senior citizen group was more into vaccine hesitancy, the survey revealed.
The study found that 27.6 per cent of the senior citizens had vaccine hesitancy which was the highest among the three age groups. 16.9 per cent of those in the age group between 18-44 were having vaccine hesitancy while in the age group of 45-60, 18.2 per cent were vaccine-hesitant.
Among the unvaccinated individuals, 57.6 per cent were of the fear that complications would arise after the jab, 24.5 per cent doubted on the vaccine's efficacy, 20.9 per cent of those not vaccinated feared death after getting inoculated.
Surprisingly the survey found that 48.4 per cent of the senior citizen population were afraid of injections and 22.5 per cent found long queues and waiting hours as a reason for not preferring the injections.
Respective deputy director of health services led the survey team in each district of Tamil Nadu. In Chennai, the survey was conducted by the Postgraduate students of Community Medicine, Madras Medical College and with the support of the Greater Chennai Corporation.
Director of Public Health, Dr. T.S. Selvavinayagam told IANS, "The survey has revealed that there are misconceptions among the people and we will be focusing on awareness among the people. We have done several awareness campaigns among the clusters across the state and we will now be giving special focus and attention to people above the age of 60 owing to the high rate of reluctance among them."
He also said that strategies and facilities would be created to break the barriers and empower everyone to get vaccinated with confidence.