Fear of death, impotence keeping villagers away from Covid jabs in Jharkhand

Express News Service
RANCHI: People in rural areas, especially the tribal dominated districts such as Gumla, Khunti and other adjoining districts, are reluctant to get COVID vaccine due to the fear of death, fever and impotence as well, after the jabs are administered to them. 

Not only they are reluctant to take the jabs, but health workers reaching out to tribal villages for vaccination and awareness drives are being attacked by the villagers.

In a recent such incident, health workers who had gone for COVID survey to the Unkuda village under Torpa Block of Khunti on Tuesday were attacked by the villagers asking them to leave the place or they will be killed. Villagers were said to be annoyed after a woman in the village died within few days aftertaking COVID jab.

There are more than half a dozen villages in Khunti itself which witnessed opposition from the locals after the survey team reached there and asked not to bring vaccines to the village in the last few days. Interestingly, even those who have taken the first dose are also not turning up for the second one afterthey got fever after the first jab.

Local village representatives in Gumla also asserted that there is a misconception among the villagers regarding the vaccine, due to which they are not ready to take the jabs.

“There is a misconception among the villagers that COVID jabs will make them impotent, ill or they might also die. Some of the incidents where people having comorbidity died after taking the jabs have strengthened their belief,” said Senha Circle Officer Vijay Das. Looking at these problems, intensive awareness drive has been launched in the region following which, people have started turning up for vaccination, he added.

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Moreover, traditional village heads and priests are being administered COVID vaccine on priority basis to pass a positive message and develop a sense of confidence among villagers.

Local village representatives in Gumla also confirmed that people are really afraid of taking the jabs due to the fear death or getting ill.

“People here are afraid of taking the jabs as they get fever as soon as they are administered the vaccine. Though, this is a common phenomenon, a belief has been established among the villagers that vaccines are making them ill,” said Mukhia of Andhardih village under Ghaghra Block of Gumla, Jhari Oraon.

Enamul Khan of Malgo village under Bharno Block was of the view that people are also not very keen to take the jab as some of the people died after a few days of getting the COVID vaccine.

“Recently, some of the old age people who already had high blood sugar and other ailments, died after a few days of taking the jab which has strengthened their belief that the jabs are killing people,” said Khan. As most of the people got fever post vaccination, many of them have already decided that they will not go for the second jab, he added.

Officials said that there definitely is a problem, which is being resolved gradually. “There is a belief among the villagers that they should not have any problem due to the vaccine but people are getting fever post vaccination. So they are not very keen in taking the second jab,” said Bishunpur BDO Chanda Bhattacharya. There was very encouraging response during the first doze, but since most of the people got fever and headache after that, they are not turning up for the second doze, she added.

Gumla Deputy Commissioner Shishir Kumar Sinha also admitted that there is some problem due to which intensive awareness drive has been launched to encourage people to come forward for vaccination.