India started its nationwide vaccination drive against Covid-19 in January 16, almost six months back, with two vaccines – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute’s Covishield. So far, 32 crore vaccine doses have been administered across the country. In a fresh affidavit, the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Saturday that 44.2 per cent of the beneficiaries above 45 years and 13 per cent of the citizens aged between 18-44 years have received the first vaccine dose. But a large number of people are still not willing to get the shot for various reasons, mainly because of myths and suspicions about the safety of the vaccines. Below we have listed the top reasons for Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy in the country along with experts’ clarification on these concerns. Also Read - COVID-19 Live Updates: 135 Cr Covid Vaccines Will Be Available By Year End, Centre Tells SC

Covid-19 vaccine can cause problems in menstruation, pregnancy and fertility

According to government vaccination data, a lot more men have come forward to get vaccinated against the deadly virus as compared to women in the country. More precisely, the data suggests that nearly 17 per cent more men are partially or completely vaccinated than women. This gender disparity is even wider (almost double) in the villages of Jammu and Kashmir, where many women are hesitant to get the shot as they believe it can cause problems in menstruation, pregnancy and fertility, according to a report by IANS news agency. Also Read - Which COVID-19 Vaccine Is Best? Here's Why It's Difficult To Compare Coronavirus Vaccines

So far, there’s no evidence linking Covid-19 vaccination to changes in menstruation and one unusual period after getting the jab is not a cause for concern, say experts. It is also safe to take the shot during menstruation and your period has no effect on the vaccine efficacy. Also Read - COVID Vaccines Provide Protection In More Than 95% Of Healthcare Workers: Apollo Hospitals’ Study

Getting COVID-19 vaccine won’t cause infertility. Dr. Katherine O’ Brien – Director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines & Biologicals – had already busted this rumour in episode 24 of ‘Science in 5’. “The vaccines we give cannot cause infertility. This is a rumour that has gone around about many different vaccines and there’s no truth to the rumour. There’s no vaccine that causes infertility,” Dr. O’ Brien told ‘Science in 5’ host Vismita Gupta Smith.

As there were limited data on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines in pregnant women and they had not been part of any COVID vaccine trials, women who are pregnant or not sure of their pregnant were not allowed to receive COVID-19 vaccine. But the Union Health Ministry, in its latest statement, said that pregnant women “can and should” get the COVID-19 vaccine., as “exposure probability is very high” and that the “benefit far outweighs the risk”.

Covid-19 vaccine can cause serious side effects and even death

Earlier, there was a report that about 200 residents of Sisoda village in Barabanki district, Uttar Pradesh jumped into the Saryu river to evade vaccination. The believed that Covid-19 vaccine is harmful, and that people are getting hospitalised after getting the shot and many have even died.

Before launching the Covid-19 vaccines in the country, the Health Ministry had issued an advisory informing people about the possible side effects after receiving the jab. It stated that mild adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) like headache, fatigue, myalgia (pain in muscle), injection site tenderness, malaise (weakness), fever, body ache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, giddiness-dizziness, tremor, sweating, cold, cough and injection site sweating are among the symptoms that may occur following vaccination.

Such vaccine side-effects occur in less than 10 per cent of people and subside in 1-2 days, AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria had said in January. He also assured that the side-effects will not result in death of the beneficiary.

Despite ‘possible links’ of blood clots after vaccination, many experts say the benefits of Covid-19 vaccine outweigh the side effects.

People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccines are advised to not take it. People with medical conditions and those who are unsure about their medical status should consult their physician before getting vaccinated.

Covid-19 vaccine can cause erectile dysfunction

Among many rumours prevailing in Indian villages, an interesting one is that the vaccine causes impotence in men. Claims that Covid-19 vaccines could cause erectile dysfunction were circulated on social media. But researchers and experts have repeatedly clarified that there was no evidence to support the claim.

None of the manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines have listed any issues related to sexual health or erectile dysfunction in their clinical trials. The Drug Authority of India as well as the World Health Organisation have also dismissed claims of Covid-19 vaccines causing impotence or infertility.

However, some studies have suggested a link between COVID-19 and erectile dysfunction.

Meanwhile, in its fresh affidavit, the Centre has informed the SC that a total of 135 crore vaccines – Covishield, Covaxin, Bio E Sub unit vaccine, Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine, and Sputnik V – will be available from all sources by December.

Published : June 28, 2021 9:54 am | Updated:June 28, 2021 11:05 am

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