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    1 In 10 Parents Not Planning To Vaccinate Their Children

     Rinda Angom


    The vaccination for children in India is under its way to roll out as early as August 2021, as per Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in a BJP parliamentary meeting. AIIMS Chief Dr Guleria has also advocated resumption of school if vaccination for kids is carried out successfully. 


    Amidst all these, Rabitat had conducted a survey on parents’ opinions regarding the vaccination for their kids. The purpose of the survey was to discover whether parents want their kids to be vaccinated or not and to see whether they would want to send their children to school without getting vaccinated.


    The result was mostly in favour of vaccination, only 1 in 10 parents don’t want the vaccination for their children. Even though it’s a minimal number, it still poses a threat as children with mild infections of Covid-19 or asymptomatic can act as carriers and spread. This further raises the question of whether schools should open or not. 


    The survey was conducted by means of a questionnaire given to parents to complete. The questionnaire dealt with whether the parents have got vaccinated themselves, their preferred vaccine company and most importantly, whether they are ready for their kids to get vaccinated or not, whether it’s important or not especially now that schools are planning to re-open.

    Around 250-300 people took the survey poll and according to the result, 1.2% of parents think vaccination for children is not important, 5.6% are not sure and 93.2% consider it very important. The unsureness and not taking the vaccination seriously is mostly because of the mistaken beliefs about the vaccine risks.

    From the survey poll results, 64.3% of the parents got vaccinated whereas 35.7% haven’t. The top reasons for not taking the vaccination are:

    • Most popular being recently recovered from Covid-19 and waiting for the recommended 1 month to 90 day period before taking the vaccination.
    • The second common answer was pregnancy and breastfeeding. 
    • Another common answer was the lack of availability of vaccines in their area and the unavailability of slots. 


    On asking if they have any preference of vaccine brand/company, 85.7% of parents have their preference and 14.3% aren’t bothered about it. 



    Giving them the choices of the vaccines available in India, 57.4% preferred Covishield, 22.2% opted for Covaxin, 14.8% for Sputnik and 5.6% didn’t prefer any of the three. The preference of Covishield over other vaccines may possibly be of its availability in large quantity than the others. Sputnik claiming its high efficacy could have been the more preferred option but its availability is very minimal. Another reason could be that of the price as Covishield is the cheapest vaccine available. Moderna’s mRNA claims to be the most efficacious of all as it is able to neutralise antibodies against VoCs (Variant of Concern) and offers a good level of protection even against Delta and other variants. 


    However, making Moderna vaccine’s available in India will take time as the US company’s supply is fully booked for 2021.

    With regards to vaccinating children, 89.5% of the parents want their kids to get vaccinated, 8.9% of parents are unsure and 1.6% don’t want it. 



    The most concerning topic regarding children is the reopening of schools. And as vaccination would play a major role in keeping the kids safe, we asked if they would send their kids to school without getting them vaccinated. 89.7% of the parents don’t want to send their kids to school without getting vaccinated while 10.3% choose to send without vaccinating.


    Clearly, the majority of parents want their kids to get vaccinated and they are not ready to send their kids without vaccination. Even if the vaccination for children is roll out, 1 in 10 are still not ready for it which concerns the reopening of the school. No parents would risk their child mingling with the ones who haven’t gotten vaccinated as the chance of getting infected is more. Either this 1 in 10 of kids have to be banned from coming to school or leave the idea of reopening schools. This could be a dilemma as neither of the two would be in favour of making educational progress. 

     



    Though online schooling may benefit some who find learning in large classes intimidating and can be less stressful or for that matter convenient for those who commute long distances to attend classes. However, the negative side of it is also getting evident in the form of reduced effectiveness of teaching and not being able to interact the way it’s done physically. Practicals and field trips and others that require physical presence are now limited.

     

    The worst part of online education is that low-income families aren’t able to afford the internet or smartphones which is a prerequisite. Internet issues in remote areas also hinder the smooth functioning of online classes. Students with disabilities are the ones to least benefit from distance learning as they depend on in-person education.

     

    Moreover, children feel cooped up at home and they also miss the physical interaction with friends. Lockdown has impacted children’s mental health too, therefore it’s important to resume normalcy and that’s where vaccination will play a major role by reducing the chance and risk of infection. Vaccination seems to be the only tool to fight against Covid-19.


    As several western nations such as the USA, Italy, Germany and Poland have already begun the vaccination drives for children as young as 12 years of age successfully, we believe that many more countries will join in too. India is soon going to join too as announced by the Union Health Minister, Mandaviya and with Dr Guleria’s confirmation on the vaccine trials for children in the age group of 2-18.





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