Higher COVID Vaccine Hesitancy is Seen in Urban Population & Elderly: Survey

A higher proportion of COVID vaccine hesitancy is seen in the urban population and in older age groups.

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People in smaller towns, rural areas, and populations that have an income of less than Rs five lakh per annum are more willing to get vaccinated against coronavirus, as per a survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in the month of September.

Meanwhile, a higher proportion of 'fence sitters' – those who are hesitant to get vaccinated due to vaccine concerns – are seen in the urban population and in older age groups.

The survey was conducted with a sample of 3,500 participants in 14 states in both urban and rural areas, representative of people of different income groups and genders.

As many as 38 percent in smaller towns, 47 percent in rural areas, and 40 percent in regions where people earn less than Rs 5 lakh income per annum are willing to take the COVID vaccine.


On the other hand, 44 percent of the population in urban areas (large towns) is hesitant to get vaccinated and 56 percent of the people in older age groups fall under the same category.

Rural vs Urban: Why Are People Hesitant?

The survey shows that while there is high willingness in rural areas, the population living there is facing few adoption barriers. It also listed the reasons for people being hesitant in urban areas.

  • Rural areas: Crowded vaccine sites, long waiting time, and lack of nearby vaccination sites are the adoption barriers for those willing to get vaccinated.

  • Urban areas: In large towns, there is hesitancy towards vaccination due to doubts regarding vaccine efficacy and fear of long-term irreversible effects.

First Dose of Vaccine: Drop in People Willing to Get Vaccinated

The BCG had conducted three surveys in March, May, and September and a comparison of the results of the three months shows that there has been a drop in willingness to take the vaccine, indicating that "demand is becoming a key constraint".

Meanwhile, the survey conducted in September shows that people had become more hesitant in getting vaccinated as compared to the surveys conducted in March and May, across large towns, small towns, and rural areas.

The survey was conducted across states such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Gujarat, Jharkhand, and the Union territory of Delhi.

Out of these states, Maharashtra was found to have the highest percentage of population willing to get vaccinated with 39 percent in urban areas and 54 percent in rural areas.

On the other had, 25 percent of Delhi's population falls under the 'willingness adopters' category, and the urban population of Gujarat and Jharkhand stand next in line at 28 percent.

Among the rural population, 40 percent of people in Madhya Pradesh are willing to take the vaccine with Meghalaya and Jharkhand at 41 percent each.

Also, the urban population across all the states considered in the survey shows a consistently high share of people being hesitant to take the vaccine.

Next, looking at demographics of these states:

  • Highest percentage of urban population willing to get vaccinated lies in the income slab of Rs 1.5-5 lakh at 42 percent. However, for the same category in rural areas, 63 percent of the population is from the income slab of less than Rs 1.5 lakh.

  • Highest percentage of people wanting to take the vaccine in urban areas is aged between 26-45 years and the figure stands at 39 percent.

  • Meanwhile, rural areas saw 64 percent of population in 18-25 years of age recording the highest willingness.

  • People aged above 56 years show maximum resistance with 56 percent of the urban population falling under this category. For the rural population, it was the 26-45 years category that was the most hesitant at 36 percent.


Second Dose of Vaccine: Moderate Willingness Across Different Kinds of Towns

The BCG survey shows that 62 percent of the population in large towns is willing to get vaccinated for the second COVID dose, which comprises 57 percent in small towns and 54 percent in rural areas.

While a far lesser percentage of population is found to be hesitant for the second dose of vaccine across towns, with figures ranging between 5-6 percent, a significant percentage of the population is seen to be 'indifferent' — people who are indifferent towards the vaccine due to lack of fear of COVID.

Further, even for the second dose of vaccine, the population of Maharashtra shows highest willingness with 65 percent in urban areas and 66 percent in rural areas.

In terms of vaccine hesitancy for the second dose, relatively less resistance is seen in both urban and rural areas with the overall percentage of population lying in the range of 5-6 percent.

As far as demographics is concerned, 62 percent of the population living in tier-1 cities and 62 percent of people with income over Rs 10 lakh per annum show the highest willingness to take the second dose of the vaccine.

Additionally, 66 percent of people in 18-25 age group show the highest willingness in urban areas, and 70 percent of people in 46-55 age group in rural areas fall under the same category.


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Topics:  states   survey   Webqoof 

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