South India

Parents in TN reluctant to inoculate teen fearing side effects

Revathy of Bodiniakanar in Theni district told IANS: "I have not allowed my 16-year-old daughter to take the vaccination fearing side effects. Doctors have ensured that there won't be any, but am scared."

Chennai: While over 60 per cent of the eligible children in the age group of 15-18 have taken their first dose of Covid-19 vaccination in Tamil Nadu, some parents are wary of inoculating their children fearing side effects, according to the department of health services.

Revathy of Bodiniakanar in Theni district told IANS: “I have not allowed my 16-year-old daughter to take the vaccination fearing side effects. Doctors have ensured that there won’t be any, but am scared.”

This is a classic example of the vaccine hesitancy prevailing in several rural hamlets of Tamil Nadu even as the state health department had carried out several awareness programmes to educate people on the positive side of vaccination.

When contacted, several parents in the Southern districts of Tamil Nadu in Kanniyakumari, Nagercoil, Kuzhithura, and Thakala areas expressed reluctance in giving a jab to their children.

Ramamoorthy, a farmer at a village in Nagercoil, told IANS: “Me, my brother, our wives had all taken vaccination and there were not many side effects. However, we have not administered the same to our children as we fear side effects.”

The farmer said that the doctors and school teachers have tried convincing him several times but still he is hesitant to give vaccination to children.

Parents, however, said that if the government makes vaccination mandatory for writing the board examination and final year school examinations, then they will allow their children to be vaccinated.

Saraswathi from Tiruchy said: “My husband and me are not vaccinated so how can I allow my children? The government has to bring in more inputs to convince us, then we will try to inoculate our children.”

Deputy Director of Tamil Nadu health services, Dr.Subramani, however, said that more than 60 per cent of eligible teenagers are vaccinated in the state.

While speaking to IANS, he said: “The response to vaccination is good and you can check with government school teachers and headmasters and headmistresses. However, some people have their apprehensions and we have doctors in every school who will clear their doubts. I think everyone will understand the importance of vaccination to prevent the disease and hence will vaccinate their children.”

The school authorities are also of the opinion that maximum children are being vaccinated except for a minimal percentage.

Sulajakumari. R. Principal of a Government School in Kancheepuram while speaking to IANS said: “We have almost vaccinated 90 per cent of our eligible children. Of course, some parents have shown apprehensions and the doctor who is present in the school is convincing these parents. Hope they will soon fall in place and vaccinate their children.”

Source
IANS

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