Why anti-vaxxers pose biggest challenge to vaccination campaign worldwide

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi Published: Dec 04, 2020, 10:51 PM(IST)

Protests in London over lockdown Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

In the United States, some people view vaccines as an infringement into their rights.


Two vaccines have received regulatory approvals and at least one more is awaiting the nod. Several shots are in stage 3 of clinical trials with warehouses being readied, hospitals prepared, doctors on stand by, priority charts for vaccination being drawn up.

However, the biggest challenge still awaits us and its got nothing to do with procurement, distribution or storage of the vaccine. The biggest challenge is getting people to take the vaccine.

"I don't want to be vaccinated, I want to be free, I want to live my life, I want all my friends to live their lives. The pandemic is a hoax, the pandemic is a hoax. It's a coverup while they reset the whole economy," Michelle, a protester says.

The London resident is one of the many anti-vaxxers who have taken to the streets around the world over the last few months. They marched through Berlin in November. There were also anti-lockdown protests in London.

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On November 28, 60 protesters were arrested in London. Vaccines may have immunised the population against several health conditions in the past be it polio, flu, measles, mumps or rubella. However, there is scepticism against vaccines and it stems from multiple reasons.

In the United States, some people view vaccines as an infringement into their rights. Some people are scared of the possible side-effects of a vaccine and the fear has only been accelerated by the fast-track approach that's been adopted for the development and approval of Wuhan virus vaccines.

There is a fear that a vaccine that's been developed in a record time will be a bad vaccine.

"Today, I won't. I will wait, rather. Now, I won't take the risk to be vaccinated, no," Eva Michelle, an economist, says.

The problem in France is more peculiar, one expert is of the opinion that people were not familiarised about the idea of a vaccine well in advance.

"We didn't talk about the vaccine early enough in France, that is to say, we didn't talk about the vaccine at the beginning of the year," Antoine Bristielle, professor of social sciences, says.

"In France, 54 per cent of people say they will be vaccinated against COVID-19, in Germany 69 per cent, in the UK 79 per cent, in India 87 per cent, so the acceptance of vaccination, in general, is lower in France than abroad, and even lower for COVID-19," he adds.

The lack of information is a problem and misinformation is another. Earlier this year, a lot of people rejected polio and flu vaccination in the Philippines after some fake news was spread over Whatsapp and Facebook. It gave health workers a fair idea that getting people to take the Wuhan virus vaccine will not be easy.

The scepticism against vaccine is also being fueled by certain countries that have a track record of profiteering from crisis and cannot be trusted with developing non-faulty shots namely China.

It has been carrying out trials in Brazil. Now, a poll says only 63 per cent of Brazilians want to take a vaccine that number was 85 per cent just four months ago. Clearly, getting people to take the vaccine will be a challenge.

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