Ground Report | New Delhi: How difficult is Vaccination Drive; Be it trekking several kilometers through mountainous terrain, battling poor network connectivity, or vaccine hesitation, the teams conducting vaccination campaigns in remote tribal areas of the country are doing everything possible to ensure that every citizen gets their COVID-19 dose.
The situation is even more worrisome in rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir, where vaccination hesitancy is causing problems in the vaccinated population. This incident is perhaps a reflection of how deep the fear runs in the remote villages of the Kashmir Valley, where some villagers even attack the doctor.
Due to misinformation and mistrust, many residents, especially in remote areas, believe that vaccines cause impotence, cause serious side effects, and can even kill. Some simply say that they do not need shots because they are immune to the coronavirus.
How difficult is Vaccination Drive
A medical team was allegedly attacked by a family in a remote village in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. In a video that has gone viral on social media, some members of a family are seen attacking health workers there and refusing to get vaccinated.
An official said that a family attacked the medical team that had come during the vaccination campaign in the village. He said the medical team had administered only six vaccines at the time of the incident and they had to return until a police team was dispatched by the nearest police post. A health worker present at the spot said the villagers claimed that they were in good health and did not need any vaccine.
A team of health workers risked their lives while crossing the river with cold boxes. The vaccination campaign was carried out in the remote area of Kandi block one of the Far-Flung areas of the Rajouri district. “We cross rivers several times to reach remote villages and vaccinate people,” said an ASHA worker.
In hilly districts, the health department has to make a lot of papads in setting up camps for vaccination. Because it is very difficult to find a big ground for camping in the hilly districts. Due to this the health department has to set up small camps. While on the one hand, the health department has to face a lot of difficulties in setting up the camp, on the other hand, people in the mountainous region are shying away from applying the vaccine.
It is the effort of the Health Department that a big ground should be available in the hilly areas or a big school or big panchayat buildings should be hired. Where a large number of people can be vaccinated simultaneously with social distancing. Overall, due to the lack of availability of sufficient space in rural areas, the vaccination campaign is not being carried out properly.
Difficult to travel
Ganderbal health worker Aijaz Ahmad Bhat, who works as a Lab technician at National Health Mission (NHM), travels to remote areas of the Ganderbal district. “It is difficult to travel to these places due to poor road connectivity and lack of public transport systems. We often have to walk halfway for 6-7 hours. Hilly terrain makes it difficult,” Bhat told Groundreport.in.
Poor internet and mobile network have added to their troubles. “Internet is a problem. In some districts, vaccination teams have to go offline for vaccination. It is a matter of trouble,” Sophie said. However, the entire team has been fortunate enough to face almost negligible vaccine hesitation among people from far-flung areas of the district.
Bhat further added, There is no one reason for the backwardness of these districts, there are many reasons for this. As these are located in remote areas, the road connectivity is poor. These areas also have a high population of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and minorities. In such a situation, the challenge increases in rural and tribal areas. The primary health centers in such areas are either missing staff or are few in number. In such a situation, more struggle will have to be done in getting the vaccination done smoothly.
Lack of awareness
People in far-flung areas of the Valley had fled because of some rumors about the vaccine. Health worker speaking to Groundreport.in, says that some people had a fear that vaccination leads to death. That’s why people were scared. But on the persuasion of the officials, the fear of the people was overcome. ((How difficult is Vaccination Drive)
They are also battling vaccine hesitation in these areas, posing a major risk to unvaccinated populations. “All the villagers had already fled before we reached the village. We waited for a while at the vaccination center set up in the village but no one came,” said a member of the health team.
However, there is still a fear among some people about the vaccine. “People were scared when the health department team came some times they even attack health worker. Even after we got people vaccinated, people were scared and ran away. People said that they were afraid of vaccines and not from Covid. It seems. But when the officials explained, people agreed to get vaccinated. But still many people have not got vaccinated.
Taking cognizance of such incidents, then the administration of Jammu and Kashmir gave instructions to spread public awareness and motivate people to get vaccinated. (How difficult is Vaccination Drive)
In many places in the mountainous areas that the local people are shying away from getting the vaccine. To motivate the people of such rural areas, the heads or public representatives of those areas are the first to come and get the vaccine.
Due to which the local people are getting motivated, after that other people are applying the vaccine. At the same time, it was also told that people are being made aware of the people at the local level, which people mostly believe, by applying the vaccine to those people first.