This blog originally appeared in Times of India. Below is an excerpt.
Going by Ministry of Health’s statistics, India has successfully managed to administer first dose of vaccination to more than 100 crore eligible beneficiaries across states and union territories, which is far ahead of all developed nations including US and UK, who have covered 77.5 per cent and 78.2 per cent of its populations respectively. This is a landmark achievement.
But the Covid-19 vaccination drive for adolescents between 12 to 14 years, which started on March 16, 2022 is comparatively sluggish across the country, with a large section of parents being on the fence.
What are the reasons for vaccine hesitancy in 12 to 14 years age group?
The disinclination towards the preventive jab for the younger age group has been in part, due to the infection trends witnessed during the first two waves, where it was perceived that the children, right from infants to adolescents were not as vulnerable to SARS CoV2 virus as the adult population, where the infections were severe and attributable deaths were much higher.
Another reason for hesitation among parents, who are the decision makers for this age-group has been little or no research data availability in the public arena to ascertain a correlation in terms of significant antibody development in children after vaccination. It is generally seen that parents are afraid of the after-effects of the vaccine as it is new and fear that it is not tested enough, specifically in children.