“You people have brought this disease to our village. Earlier we had no such disease. And now you plan to kill us with these vaccines.” Such were the words of Jharkhand’s villagers who genuinely believed that healthcare workers had brought the disease and that the vaccine would kill them. That was why they refused to get vaccinated.
Dependency on medicine men or quacks for treatment, the influence of local religious leaders, unavailability of adequate medical infrastructure and many other reasons have caused greater fear among the tribal communities of the state.
The task forces, comprising accredited social health activists (ASHAs), anganwadi workers, auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) and self-help group (SHG) members faced strong opposition to the vaccination drive. Officials in remote villages have to battle not only the pandemic but also the misinformation and rumors. Their strategies to overcome these challenges are slowly bearing results.