Nearly one-third of respondents from rural and urban slum samples reported that they did not know about the COVID-19 vaccine registration process in the first stage, said a study.
Among those who knew about vaccine registration, many did not register since they were unaware of their eligibility for the vaccine, it added.
Researchers from BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University presented the findings at a webinar titled “COVID-19 Vaccination: Willingness and Practice in Bangladesh” on Thursday.
The study analyzed data from three surveys conducted over various periods of time, from late January to the end of March 2021, with the objective of examining the willingness to be vaccinated (WTV) in Bangladesh, on a national level as well as for the youth and urban slum residents.
The research also aimed to look into prevailing vaccine registration practices and behaviour among the urban slum and rural respondents.
Majority of the respondents, who were unwilling to be vaccinated, mentioned that they do not feel that vaccination is necessary. This notion was most prevalent among urban slum dwellers.
A recent study has found high willingness to be vaccinated (WTV) prevailing nationally in early February 2021, around the time when the nationwide vaccination program was launched in Bangladesh.
However, there were many barriers among the rural and urban slum respondents towards vaccination.
BIGD researchers Mehnaz Rabbani, Lead, Research for Policy and Governance (RPG), Avinno Faruk, Research Associate, and Ishmam Al Quddus, Research Associate, presented the findings from the study at the webinar, followed by comments from distinguished discussants.
The objective of the virtual event was to enable policymakers to gauge the degree of vaccine acceptability and what may have worked or not worked towards it, and identify subgroups of the population that may require special attention to ensure immunization.
Prof Diana Mitlin, Professor of Global Urbanism, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester said “The importance of messaging and creating excitement around health services seems to be important especially in reducing the anxiety and negative concerns around vaccination and can be a scope for improving relationship of these communities with the government.”
Dr Imran Matin, Executive Director of BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University concluded the session.
“Our research has identified the urban slum and youth as “hotspot” target populations to focus on during vaccine registration communications. As we delve deeper, there will soon be a need for implementation research on mass vaccination and BIGD is very interested in being a part of these studies,” he said.