As the second wave of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic ravages India, an invisible but destructive narrative is spreading across rural Madhya Pradesh: That vaccination is leading to deaths.
As concerted efforts are underway to control the surge in cases across villages in Betul district’s Shahpur block, frontline workers (FLW) such as accredited social health activists (ASHA), Anganwadi and auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM) are faced with an unexpected burden: To deal with and educate people refusing vaccination.
The village is rife with rumors around vaccination, purportedly telling people to not get vaccinated and instead take up home-made remedies to treat the infection. In some villages, they alleged, people died after getting vaccinated. Doctors, however, did not affirm to such correlations.