The Bihar Post

Rumours, misconceptions deal severe blow to India’s fight against COVID-19

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PATNA—The battle against deadly Covid-19 is getting tougher by the day in Bihar.

Even as the Bihar state government has launched mobile van facilities to vaccinate the villagers right at the doorstep, they look to be reluctant towards the ongoing vaccination drive, thanks to various misconceptions associated with the vaccines. What is further worrying, the angry villagers have been driving away the health teams engaged in the vaccination drive.

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In a latest incident, the residents of Vishunpura village in Buxur district drove away a health team which had gone there to vaccinate them right at the village. The villagers told the health workers that they don’t need vaccines since their village is free from the virus.

“The health team members tried hard to convince the villagers about the benefits of vaccination but the villagers were just not ready to listen to them,” local primary health centre in-charge Dr Sudhir Kumar said.

Similar story was reported from Auraiya village panchayat in Banka district. A medical team accompanying the local Mukhiya had rushed to the village to vaccinate the villagers.

After reaching the spot, the team members along with the local Mukhiya Lusy Devi appealed to the villagers to come forward for vaccination but the people remained hardly interested. Only six villagers opted for vaccination during the two hour-long stay of the medical team.

The story looks nothing different in Begusarai district where the villagers are staying away from vaccination which is available right at their door. Only nine villagers took the vaccines in Sonma village panchayat of the district when the mobile van reached the spot for vaccination drive.

The van continued moving from one village to another but none came forward to get the vaccine except these nine. Again none came forward to take the vaccine in Dafarpur village panchayat in the same district.

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Villagers from Parbatta village in Bhagalpur district, on the other hand, strongly opposed the health team when they reached the village.

The team accompanied with local BDO, health centre in-charge and local panchayat officials tried very hard to convince the villagers to take vaccines while informing them about its benefits but none appeared interested. Instead they misbehaved with the health team and chased them away.

The villagers told the health team that quite many of them faced health complications after taking the vaccines but none came to their help.

“What is point in taking the vaccines when many types of diseases occur even after that?” asked some villagers. Some women raised even more interesting issue. According to them, the women are getting infertile due to taking the vaccines, so they don’t want the vaccines.

Saharsa district reported almost similar story with people ignoring the vaccination vans stopping at their villages.

“We are scared of taking vaccines since people say the person dies after getting vaccinated,” a local villager Aman Kumar told a local media. Another villager Manoj Kumar Yadav asked if the government would take care of his family if he died after taking the vaccine.

Various kinds of rumours doing the rounds in the areas and the prevailing misconceptions among the villagers have badly affected the vaccination drive in the state.

The state government itself admitted this situation during the hearing of the case in the Patna high court a couple of days back. Advocate general Lalit Kishore told the court that the people in rural areas are hesitant to get vaccinated due to a variety of misconceptions.

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