Vaccination Diversity

  • 1st Revision: Isobel Lester
  • 2nd Revision: Sophia Bradshaw
  • 3rd Revision: Pranitha Ven Murali[Linkedin]

The popular TV show, Strictly Come Dancing(1), features a number of celebrity contestants who have not been vaccinated and are refusing to do so. It makes one wonder how even celebrities who are advocates of many public trends are refusing to get vaccinated. 

This forms a part of vaccine hesitancy(2) which can be attributed to the lack of confidence in the efficacy of the vaccines. In addition to this, there has also been a large amount of disinformation(3) and anti-government propaganda via social media, online support groups, public demonstrations and news outlets.

Some of the other factors include beliefs that there is a certain sense of complacency(4) where people believe that the risk of COVID-19 is low and therefore there would be no imminent need for vaccination. It is important to understand that vaccine hesitancy is also brought about through the influence of governing bodies.

Furthermore, it seems that race is also a variable in vaccine hesitancy, most likely due to there being a lack of ethnic diversity in COVID-19 vaccine trials which means that the varying biological, environmental and social differences between different ethnic groups are not accounted for in research.(5)Due to this lack of available information applicable to them, many people of colour are hesitant about being vaccinated despite the fact that there is evidence that vaccine efficacy and safety(6) were similar for the white and non-white populations. It is important that ethnic minorities are represented in clinical trials in order to increase public outreach as well as educational campaigns to combat vaccine hesitancy. 

A popular example(7) is the Indian made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been accepted by the U.K. government. This move has been deemed discriminatory. Roughly 150 million individuals have received both doses of the vaccine and have therefore created a sense of panic among these vaccinated individuals hoping to travel abroad. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in July, had indicated that there would be no problem for travellers who had received the Indian made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine (Covishield). Additionally, the vaccine has been approved by the U.S.A., and 23 states of the European Union. The vaccine is made of the same raw materials, the only difference being the location of the assembly of the vaccine. There has been no explanation regarding the disapproval of this vaccine which is a raging cause of concern. 

A possible explanation for this decision(8) can be linked to the seizing of counterfeit versions of Covishield certification by authorities in India and Africa, supplemented(9) by a surge in vaccine certificates on a social media platform called Telegram, in 28 countries including Austria, UAE, Brazil, U.K., Singapore and more. However, this vaccination certificate does contain a QR code that may be scanned for authentication. Thus, increasing the sense of mystery behind this decision. 

There has also been a massive outrage(10) regarding the failure to recognize vaccines administered across the globe with the U.K., only recognizing travelers fully vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccine in the U.S., New Zealand, South Korea or an EU country. What was considered concerning is the refusal of accepting vaccine certificates of individuals who have received both the shots of the same vaccine in Africa, Latin America, UAE, India, and other countries. 

There is a wide sense of doubt regarding why these vaccines have not been approved. Is it a legality issue? Is it something bigger? There is not enough information about this which keeps increasing the seed of doubt in people all across the globe. It is believed that some doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were manufactured in India and administered to a certain number of people in the U.K., however there is no information on how many people were administered the dose of this particular vaccine. With regards to the vaccine passports as well, many international students and professionals who have now finished their isolation period in the U.K. are worried about what their future holds. Will they have to be revaccinated? Will public areas and travel restrictions change as time passes? Is travel without restrictions even possible? The self-isolation period also comes with extra tests that travelers have to bear the cost of at their own expense. All of these issues have left a population of people in doubt and with not much information available, the issue keeps escalating.

This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Ishana Gole

Master of Science - MS, Bioscience Entrepreneurship, UCL (University College London)
Ishana is a Biomedical Science student with a keen interest in neuroscience and past experience in online consulting, marketing and advertising.

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