JEYPORE: Thanks to awareness drives by ground level health workers, jab-averse tribals in Koraput district are finally showing willingness and coming forward to get vaccinated for Covid-19 in large numbers. As per official data, in a span of just one month, more than 1 lakh people, majority of them tribals, have got their jabs at various centres across the district.
The inoculation process for Covid-19 had started in January. However, convincing people, mostly tribals in remote areas, to get vaccinated was a big challenge given the skepticism and rumour-mongering. In far-flung areas under Narayanpatana, Bandhugaon, Boipariguda, Laxmipur, Jeypore, Kotpad, Borrigumma, Kundra, Nandapur, Pottangi, Laxmipur and Dasmantpur pockets, tribal villagers showed reluctance to get jabbed fearing health problems. If sources are to be believed, many even fled villages to avoid vaccination when official teams arrived.
But with health workers working round the clock to spread awareness on vaccine safety, the reluctance is gone with tribals coming forward on their own to get vaccinated. Official data has revealed that from January till June, 3,84,279 people took the vaccine. But from July 1 till now, 1,31,721 beneficiaries have been vaccinated. Total vaccinated people now are 5,16,000 against target of 10 lakh in the district.
Earlier the health administration took four to five days to complete over 30,000 doses but the same is now gets exhausted in two to three days. Most of the centres are seeing a decent turnout now. While 200 session sites have been earmarked, 70 are currently administering vaccines in the district. “Earlier, beneficiaries from tribal areas were coming after much motivation but now they are coming on their own,” said Suresh Dongari, a worker at Badajeuna sub health center in Jeypore block.
Sources said, most beneficiaries are tribals in the 18-44 age group. In some pockets, tribals are apparently skipping daily farm activities to make a beeline at vaccine centres. “We are coming to take the vaccination and don’t regret skipping our daily work as this is important and will protect us from the virus,” said Padmini Naya, a tribal woman of Majhiguda village.
Koraput ADMO (public health) NM Satapathy said there is tremendous response from people for vaccination in tribal areas and the health admnistration is arranging resources accordingly. “We are trying to provide vaccine to all targeted beneficiaries as early as possible,” he added.