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Few Takers For Needle-free Booster Dose In Region

Chandigarh: With the central government making nasal COVID-19 vaccine available as a booster dosehesitancy has been observed for the needle-free vaccine,

The intranasal medication, recently given a green flag by the Union health ministry, is administered as a nose drop. Experts say it is capable of enhancing immunity. It not only stops reproduction of the virus at the entry point, but helps stop transmission. In a national survey by LocalCircles, a community platform and pollster on public issues, between January 1 and January 14 in which 3,320 individuals in the age group of 18 and above participated from Punjab (1,423), Haryana (1,106) and Himachal Pradesh (791), the majority of them were not willing to take the dose. The less likelihood of resurgence of a severe COVID wave at this point, and a spate of deaths due to cardiac arrests and heart attacks, were the main reasons given by respondents for not opting for the booster dose.

The highest hesitancy was observed in Punjab, where 73 per cent respondents, who have been jabbed with two doses, showed no interest in taking the dose. Only 2 percent of them had planned to take the new dose, while 3 percent expressed desire to take the injectable dose in coming days. Of total respondents, only 9 percent reported having taken the third dose, while another 9 percent had not taken even first two vaccines.

In neighboring Haryana, 71 per cent participants were not interested in taking the booster dose in any form, while 2 per cent shared that they might take the third shot in the form of a nasal dose soon. About 9 percent of the respondents were not even inoculated with the first two doses.

The level of vaccine acceptance was found to be higher in Himachal Pradesh in comparison to Punjab and Haryana. Close to 43 percent respondents were jabbed thrice, while 4 percent had planned of taking the dose, be it nasal or injectable, in the near future. About 37 percent expressed no desire to take the precautionary dose. ‚ÄúThis high booster hesitancy is largely driven by two factors, which are a strong belief that a severe form of COVID is unlikely at this point and a spate of deaths due to sudden cardiac arrests and heart attacks that have been reported from across the country, said Sachin Taparia, founder of LocalCircles. He added: “With little or no research available so far on the root causes of such sudden deaths and low severity of COVID, many seem to be choosing the option of staying away from boosters, given the risk-benefit analysis.”

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