As India gears up for the COVID-19 vaccination drive after emergency use approval given to two vaccines, a concerning report is coming from the United States where a large number of frontline workers and healthcare professionals are hesitant or outright refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine shot.
According to a Forbes report that takes into consideration a survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 29 per cent of healthcare workers were hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the US for such reasons as potential side effects and lack of faith in the country’s government.
The report says that most of the frontline workers in the US belong to Black and Hispanic communities, who bore the brunt of the pandemic. They have registered as high as 65 per cent of total fatalities as a result of the pandemic in cases accounting for the race and ethnicity data.
Similar conclusions were reported by a poll conducted by the Pew Research Centre in December. It had shown that Black Americans were highly sceptical of vaccines. Less than 43 per cent of them said that they would definitely or probably get a COVID-19 vaccine shot.
The NPR quoted Dr Juvvadi as saying that there was no transparency between pharmaceutical companies or research companies and even the government at times about how many people from Black and Latin communities were involved in the vaccine research.
The Forbes quoted an op-ed from the New York Times by emergency physicians Benjamin Thomas and Monique Smith that said that vaccine reluctance was a direct consequence of the medical system’s mistreatment of the Black people.
The Forbes report provides key data points from different segments of frontline workers like hospital staff and firefighters who showed reluctance in getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
As for India, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) recently approved two COVID-19 vaccines. They include the one manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Covishield as well as the indigenous vaccine developed by Biotech and ICMR, Covaxin.