Nepal received a million doses of Astra Zeneca-Oxford’s Covishield vaccines from India in donations last week. Russia and China also want to supply vaccines to Nepal. But many Nepalis seem unaware of such imported vaccines, or skeptical about their possible side-effects. On Nepali social media, many have vowed never to get vaccinated, while some have adopted a wait-and-see approach. Meanwhile, a few would immediately get a jab if they could. Vaccine-skepticism runs particularly high among the relatively younger folks. We talked to a diverse bunch of people aged 20-30 to seek their views about Covid-19 vaccination. Here is a sampling of their answers:
Surya Shrestha, 27, Businessman
No, I am not going to get vaccinated. It does not matter which country is helping Nepal with vaccines. Until and unless WHO gives its approval, I will not take a Covid-19 vaccine. People in different countries have witnessed severe side-effects of coronavirus vaccines, which make me skeptical that these vaccines will do me any good. I will need some convincing that getting a vaccine is a better option than not getting one.
Govin Shah, 23, Vegetable wholesaler
If the new and stronger variant of the coronavirus starts spreading in neighboring countries and ultimately in Nepal, I will get vaccinated. If not, I risk my own health, as well as the health and wellbeing of my loved ones. Better to get vaccinated myself and save them from harm.
Unlike the PCR testing, which I was against, if our government offers the Covid-19 vaccines for free, I will get the shots. I strongly hope there are enough vaccines available. But I also don’t want to pay much for it. So my decision depends on the vaccine’s cost.
I won’t risk it with the vaccines still in their trial phase. The vaccines gifted by India are also under trial. I believe more in developing immunity against the coronavirus. Vaccination criteria seem arbitrary and they also seem to have side-effects. Moreover, no vaccines is 100 percent effective. So, I will skip it.
Anisa Magar, 21, Student, Nobel College
I won’t get vaccinated. At first, I need to be crystal clear about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines as well as their effectiveness. If I understand all potential side-effects and their treatments, then I could think about it. But until then I have no plan of getting vaccinated.
Krishna Sharma, 26, Public Relationship Officer, Regional Blood Transmission Center
I won't get vaccinated now. The vaccines from India are in the experiment phase. And vaccine manufacturers say patients will be themselves responsible for any consequences. Moreover, I am also seeing on social media that at first prisoners and the old people are getting vaccinated. This makes me skeptical and I am planning to wait and watch. If the vaccine experiment gives a positive result, only then will I think of it.
Kabita Shah, 24, Student, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science
I won't take Covid-19 vaccines at the beginning. Countries the world over are experimenting with the vaccines. So why should I become their guinea pig? I won't get vaccinated until I carefully research the kind of vaccine, manufacturer’s detail, composition and consequences.
Dikshya Bista, 24, Receptionist, Omkar TV
No way! I am not getting vaccinated. For me, Covid-19 is nothing more than common cold that can be cured by home remedies. And most of the people are recovering themselves. If it is like flu, I see no reason to get vaccinated in the name of Covid-19. I am not taking a vaccine, no matter where it comes from.
Rabina Chhetri, Social activist
No, I am not taking the vaccine until I am assured about the side-effects. In news, I see and hear of the deaths of many people abroad. I don’t think it is good to vaccines without full assurance. And the vaccine companies are also not ready to take responsibility for the consequences. How can we trust them then?
Sukharaj KC, 28, Cook, Sangri-La Hotel
I won’t take a vaccine. Only a dose is not enough. Two doses are required with a time-gap. And, after getting vaccinated, we have to keep following safety procedures like wearing masks and social distancing. Moreover, there is no guarantee that our body will be fully immune. Why get a vaccine if I can’t feel safe even after getting it?
Rohit Rajak, 21, Actor
I am not taking the Covid-19 vaccine at any cost. I think a human is the most powerful creature on this planet. The human body can beat any disease using its own immunity, including Covid-19. My belief in human immunity is the main reason that I am not taking vaccines.
Rakshya Baral, 25, Accountant, Fair Mount Beverage
I knew nothing about any kind of vaccines coming to Nepal before APEX asked me of them. I am not much into social media, you see. But when I start to think of the Covid-19 vaccine, I believe I will take it. Almost every vaccine inoculates against a disease. I believe this vaccine is made for the same purpose and there is no harm in getting vaccinated.
Bikash Sharma, 26, Lab technician
At present, I won’t get vaccinated. I don’t believe in medicines or vaccines that are in the trial phase. I will wait and watch for some days. If the overall vaccination result is positive, I will get myself vaccinated; if not, I will desist. I have heard and seen on the internet that Nepal is being used for trial-and-error by vaccine manufacturers.