This week saw the commencement of the Indian vaccination campaign aiming to immunize 300 million people by the summer. A locally produced version of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and a local product, Covaxin, are used in the drive. According to a survey by YouGov India, only 8 percent of the country’s population said it was unlikely that they would accept the vaccination, but that is only half the story.
In a separate question, a whopping 41 percent of urban Indians said they would want to wait a few months before receiving the shot to make sure it was safe – despite the urgency to act in the pandemic that is still spreading worldwide. One reason holding Indians back might be the fact that Covaxin has not yet cleared stage III trials. The Indian government started using the vaccine nevertheless, similar to strategies employed by Russia for the Sputnik vaccine and China for the Sinovac and Sinopharm varieties.
Only a third of Indians said they wanted to get vaccinated right away. According to Al Jazeera, only one third of Indians invited to receive a vaccine at its launch showed up. In the capital Delhi, 53 percent of people scheduled to receive the shot attended in the first three days of the campaign.