Misinformation, vaccine hesitancy can dent revival of economy


New Delhi, April 13: Paranoia is once again building up with the surge in the Covid 19 with widespread circulation of misinformation regarding the intensity of the new strain of virus and Coronavirus vaccines.

The government is now facing another challenge�vaccine hesitancy — as doubts are being raised about the efficacy of the Covid 19 vaccines after many people, who have been administered the jabs contracted the virus.

The medical fraternity has clarified that the vaccine cannot serve as a foolproof mechanism against contracting the virus but would surely bring down the severity of the impact. ‘Despite this, there is fear-mongering, misinformation leading to widespread hesitancy among the eligible people in taking the shots,’ a medical practitioner said.

Several sectors starting to be hit

Sectors including travel and tourism, hospitality, aviation and retail among others have already started to feel the pinch as state authorities reimposed Covid 19 induced restrictions such as night curfews to contain the spread of the virus. Supply chain management could also be impacted as most wholesale goods are transported at night.

‘Though the basic fundamentals are still holding up, there is apprehension building up and this is being further fuelled by misinformation about the virus,’ a senior executive engaged with a multinational company said, adding that vaccine hesitancy is one of the key challenges.

Deepak Sood, secretary general, Assocham added that while until now, there has been no major dip in consumption, ‘if things continue the way they are, it is just a matter of time.’

Industry body Ficci has underlined the need to increase testing and tracking while pressing the pedal on mass vaccination.

‘We were expecting a good number of guests coming in for holiday as summer vacation approaches, but there have been cancellations and the number of queries has also dropped,’ a general manager of five-star chain of hotels added. Inflow of international tourists has already dropped by over 80 per cent since last year. However, just when domestic tourism was showing healthy signs of picking up, there has been a hit once again due to the surge in cases.

Partial lockdowns no answer

Experts also said that partial lockdowns and restrictions have proved futile in containing the spread of the virus.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said that the local restrictions in the last one week have already led to a 30 per cent loss in business activities in the country’s retai markets.

‘The restrictions are of no use, they haven’t contained the spread of Covid but have managed to fuel paranoia. The retailers have already been hit by the restrictions,’ Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, CAIT said.

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