Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 67  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 92

Online information-seeking behavior for allergies and its association with COVID-19 vaccine-hesitancy in India: An info-epidemiologic study

1 Department of Physiology, Fakir Mohan Medical College and Hospital, Balasore, Odisha, India
2 Department of Dermatology, College of Medicine and Sagore Dutta Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Physiology, Raiganj Government Medical College and Hospital, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Indrashis Podder
Department of Dermatology, College of Medicine and Sagore Dutta Hospital, Kolkata - 700 058, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijd.ijd_593_21

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Background: Vaccine-hesitancy is an important obstacle to attain herd-immunity against COVID-19. Undue fears about adverse effects like allergic reactions may be an important reason for vaccine-hesitancy. Objectives: To assess the online information-seeking behavior of Indian internet users regarding 'allergies' and determine its association with COVID-19 vaccine-hesitancy. Methods: We conducted a Google trend analysis to obtain the relative search volume (RSV) for keywords—'skin allergy,' 'drug allergy,' 'food allergy,' 'vaccine allergy,' 'contact dermatitis,' and 'allergy' using a public domain We further obtained state-wise data and statistically analyzed it to assess any association with vaccine-hesitancy. Results: Higher RSV was found for 'vaccine allergy' after the advent of COVID-19 vaccines, showing the steepest peak. 'Skin allergy' showed two peaks. The first peak was after the advent of COVID-19 pandemic and second peak was after introduction of vaccines. RSV of 'contact dermatitis' remained unchanged. Eastern and North-Eastern states showed the highest RSV for 'skin' and 'vaccine' allergies. Literacy rate showed a significant positive correlation with vaccination, whereas vaccine-hesitancy was inversely proportional to RSV for 'allergy.' Conclusion: Increased online information-seeking behavior is demonstrated by Indians regarding various 'allergies,' particularly after the advent of COVID-19 vaccines. Literacy was directly proportional to vaccination status, whereas vaccine-hesitancy was inversely proportional to search-volume for 'allergy.'

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