Unicef report: Around one-third of low-income urban families still hesitant over Covid-19 vaccine

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A nurse holds up a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur May 5, 2021. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A nurse holds up a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur May 5, 2021. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Aside from the ongoing struggle to make ends meet, a United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Families on the Edge Report has revealed that just over two-thirds of low-income urban families want to be inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine.

The report pointed out that despite 93 per cent of parents from a sample group of 500 low-income families admitting to vaccinating their children, only 63 per cent said they would be taking the Covid-19 vaccine, with fear of side effects being the main worry.

The remaining 12 per cent was outright against the vaccine with 25 per cent of respondents on the fence, with the report underscoring the importance in boosting awareness on the need for the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Among those who do not want to take or are unsure, a majority are worried about the safety of the vaccines (60 per cent) and its side effects (78 per cent),” read their report.

Other reasons for hesitance towards the vaccine cited in the report include those who doubt the efficacy and the actual contents of the vaccines, those who feel a vaccine is not needed, a minority who are pregnant or suffering from a form of chronic illness, while a small number also took on the wait-and-see approach.

Among other points raised in the report was how some heads of households in these low-income urban families are still struggling to secure jobs with unemployment rates still high, their lack of access to government assistance further compounding their struggles to cover costs of basic essential needs.

Also observed were the struggles by children transitioning to online classes, with 88 per cent of respondents saying they relied on smartphones to provide online content for their children and only 35 per cent with an appropriate device.

Children also suffered from being lost in lessons, struggles in comprehension and with more than half of parents saying their children have already lost interest in studying.

Women and mothers were also on the receiving end of these urban poor households, with many subjected to prolonged emotional and physical exhaustion, and the bleak economy not aiding their situation and stress levels.

Respondents also admitted having a bleak outlook of the future, with many expecting a lack of employment opportunities in the foreseeable future, with only 37 per cent of respondents optimistic about securing jobs in the future.

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