CUTTACK: At a time when the Covid-19 vaccination drive has entered a campaign mode, inoculating the tribals is proving to be a tough task for the district administration. The villagers are hiding in forests for fear of the vaccine. Such acute hesitancy has come to the fore in tribal pockets of Cuttack district with superstitious villagers shying away from getting inoculated.
On Friday, the district administration had organised a vaccination camp for tribal people of Orda village in Athagarh block. But the health officials have managed to vaccinate just about 15. Sources said though around 250 villagers are eligible for the Covid vaccine, not a single person turned up at Bramaura CHC to receive the jab till Thursday.
The village having more than 300 people of 59 tribal families is located inside a forest surrounded by hillocks, about nine km away from Gobara panchayat headquarters. Considering the transportation hurdle, medical officer of Bramaura CHC Dr Dillip Das arranged a camp at the village to facilitate the vaccination programme. The hospital administration had also created awareness among the villagers through mike announcement.
Despite all measures, the villagers did not turn up on the planned day for the vaccine. Following this, the health officials had to launch a door-to-door vaccination. But to their surprise, they found only a few women in the village while others had gone to the forest to evade themselves from getting inoculation.
Dr Das said, “All those who were present in the village refused to receive vaccine stating that their immunity would decrease after receiving the jab. It took at least five hours to convince 15 persons who then received the vaccine. Efforts are on to vaccinate all the villagers. Like Orda, there are several tribal-dominated villages across the district where the people are reluctant to receive the vaccine.
“At Bhagua village under the same panchayat, no one was turning up for the vaccine. After the health staff visited their houses, only 20 of 150 villagers were vaccinated. The tribals are hesitating to take the vaccine due to superstitions. We are trying to convince them,” said Dr Das.