Rumours that Covid-19 vaccines are not providing protection against the virus and that the jabs are responsible for deaths have kept people away from vaccination at a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district.
Authorities have led a campaign in the village to remove this vaccine hesitancy, but people still prefer to stay away from Covid-19 vaccination centres. The residents of Saray Akbarabad village believe that the Covid-19 vaccine is “of no use”.
Even after several awareness campaigns and block-level drives, residents of Saray Akbarabad village are hesitant about taking the vaccine.
The residents of Saray Akbarabad village believe that the Covid-19 vaccine is “of no use”. (Photo credit: Abhishek Mishra/India Today)
A ground report from the Saray Akbarabad village revealed that the residents fear some unwanted side effects of Covid-19 vaccines. This has resulted in low turnouts at vaccination centres in the area.
Many villagers expressed anger when asked why they were not taking the vaccine. Usha Devi said that she would not take the vaccine and had no trust in it. She said the Covid-19 vaccine was of no use.
Naeem, 40, said the vaccine was unavailable when the camp was being set up in the village. He said he didn’t attempt to take the jab as he was confident that he was “healthy enough to face any disease”.
Naeem said working in the farm field was more important than taking the vaccine.
Harilal, 40, said he was not well and could not take the vaccine. Skeptical about the side-effects of the vaccine, he said he was absolutely fine and did not need any vaccine. Harilal also said the vaccine could be life-threatening.
Residents of Saray Akbarabad village are hesitant about taking the vaccine despite multiple awareness drives. (Photo credit: Abhishek Mishra/India Today)
35-year-old Suman Devi also refused to take the vaccine saying that it could threaten her life. She claimed she had “already lost her relatives because of taking the vaccine”.
Suman Devi said it was not mandatory to take the vaccine, and no one could force her to take it.
BUT WHY IS THIS HESITANCY?
Another resident, 28-year-old Sunil, explained how hesitancy and fear, along with misconceptions, were prevalent among the villagers.
Sunil said the medical facilities in the village were insufficient to dispel their misplaced beliefs about the side-effects of Covid-19 vaccines. Lack of medical support on the ground could be a big reason behind this hesitancy, he said.
Saray Akbarabad village revealed that the residents fear some unwanted side effects of Covid-19 vaccines. (Photo: Abhishek Mishra/India Today)
WHAT VILLAGE HEADMAN SAYS
Umesh Yadav, the village headman, said efforts had been made to ramp up vaccination. “There has been an increase in the number of beneficiaries in the past two months, but most families have still been hesitant about taking the vaccine,” he said.
Umesh Yadav said more concerted efforts needed to be made to build confidence among villagers.
Barabanki has so far administered 5.9 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines. About 74,000 people are fully vaccinated. This makes just about two per cent of 36.79 lakh people of Barabanki.
Many villagers expressed anger when asked why they were not taking the vaccine. (Photo credit: Abhishek Mishra/India Today)
WHAT CMO SAYS
Speaking to India Today TV, Dr BKS Chauhan, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Barabanki, said that in some villages like Sarai Akbarabad, villagers still do not want to get the vaccine. The CMO said one has to get the vaccine voluntarily, efforts are on to increase awareness.