Global Summit on COVID-19
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Accepted Abstracts

Immunisation and the Pandemic: A Sociological Enquiry into Vaccination Hesitation in India

Anurita Jalan* and Kavya Jalan
1. Maitreyi College, University of Delhi, India
2. Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, India 

Citation: Jalan A, Jalan K (2021) Immunisation and the Pandemic: A Sociological Enquiry into Vaccination Hesitation in India. SciTech Central COVID-19 

Received: August 10, 2021         Accepted: August 21, 2021         Published: August 21, 2021


Over the past 2 years, Covid- 19 (SARS CoV - 2 virus) has become the deadliest health crisis globally. Vaccines began to be manufactured at a neck breaking speed. However, the discovery of a vaccine does not necessarily create a willingness to get vaccinated, as was witnessed globally and particularly in the regions of Southeast Asia. People provided various reasons ranging from scientific ones to those based on their own logic, (which will be referred to as the pandemic logic), deriving from popular perception on illness and disease, to avoid getting vaccinated. This paper presents a case study of India and asserts that the issues of health, and in this case, immunisation cannot be understood in isolation from its social and cultural contexts and henceforth the reasons for its reluctance in India. A study based on an online survey using Google forms was conducted amongst 231 respondents across India in May 2021. Its objective was to understand the popular perceptions on disease and illness with special reference to COVID - 19, its treatment and trust in the rollout of the vaccination. The methods used to collect data were both qualitative and quantitative. The Study revealed a correlation between vax hesitancy and socio-cultural factors. In India, for centuries people have combined systems of medicine from ayurveda, naturopathy, homeopathy to allopathy to treat diseases. They pick up elements based on pragmatic factors without the necessary knowledge of the therapeutic system. The controversy surrounding the vaccination further dented the already suspicious relationship people had with modern medicine, leading them to use their pandemic logic to seek immunity and, in some cases, cure. The age-old belief in religious interventions to cure diseases also became an important reason for denial towards the unseen virus and subsequent resistance to vaccination. It was found that Immunisation programmes as part of emergency propagandas or even public health policies alone, cannot lead to increased willingness of the populace to get vaccinated, on the contrary an integrated scientific and sociocultural approach is required in order to avoid knee jerk reactions and create programmes that sensitize masses about prevention rather than cure at ground level. Keywords Health, Illness, Ethnomedicine, Immunisation, Pandemic, vaccination hesitancy