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Karnataka: As villagers lock doors to avoid Covid vaccine, officials carry jabs to farms, marketplaces

Along with holding awareness drives, health officials are camping at agricultural fields or collecting MGNREGS details to find prospective vaccine recipients wherever they gather.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru |
Updated: June 29, 2021 12:34:59 pm
Covid vaccine Karnataka, Karnataka vaccination drive, Covid vaccine side effects, covid vaccine rumours, yadgir vaccination, vaccine hestitancy, karnataka covid news, indian expressOfficials said some people receiving the jabs created confidence in others, who then came forward. (Express photo/special arrangement)

After villagers in Karnataka’s Yadgir district literally shut their doors to the Covid-19 vaccination drive, health department officials have come up with a new way to administer the jab — they are camping at agricultural farms, marketplaces, and other areas where people are likely to gather.

Recently, residents in Kanchagarahalli village in Yadgir district had locked their houses and did not answer the doorbell when health officials and ASHA workers visited to give them a jab. A video that went viral on social media showed a woman locking her house and running away from the officials. In another viral video, a woman was seen shouting at officials, claiming she is fit and fine and there is no need for her or her family members to take the vaccine.

“There is a lot of resistance among the villagers,” Indumati Patil, District Health Officer (DHO) of Yadgir district, told Indianexpress.com.

“There is a standing misconception that the vaccine will lead to illness, so many are not ready to take the jab. We went to their houses, but they locked their doors. So then, along with holding awareness campaigns, we decided to take the vaccine wherever they are. We collected details of people registered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) from the Gram Panchayat office and started going to farm fields and work sites,” she added.

Covid vaccine Karnataka, Karnataka vaccination drive, Covid vaccine side effects, covid vaccine rumours, yadgir vaccination, vaccine hestitancy, karnataka covid news, indian express According to officials, their experience in the pulse polio campaign helped them transport vaccines on their two-wheelers and give jabs wherever people were available. (Photo: Express/special arrangement)

According to officials, their experience in the pulse polio campaign helped them transport vaccines on their two-wheelers and give jabs wherever people were available.

Another health officer, Dr. Lakshmikanth, said villagers were initially asked to come to the Primary Health Centres for the jab, but there were fears that their not turning up would lead to vaccine wastage. They then decided to start the vaccine campaign in farm fields, since it is sowing season for farmers cultivating tur dal and mung dal. “Some fled in fear that we would forcefully administer a dose. So we held an awareness camp in the villages,” Dr. Lakshmikanth said.

He added that some people receiving the jabs created confidence in others, who then came forward.

Yadgir in North Karnataka is among the backward districts of the state. It has about 123-gram panchayats and 519 villages, according to the district administration. The district has reported 27,417 Covid cases so far and 206 deaths. As of Monday, the district has administered the Covid-19 vaccine to 3,02,902 people.

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