BERHAMPUR: Superstitious beliefs and lack of awareness among the villagers in remote areas of Rayagada district have made the Covid-19 vaccination drive of the administration difficult.
With the villagers firm on the belief that the village deity will ‘shield’ them from all diseases including Covid-19, most people are fleeing homes to give a slip to vaccination.
On Wednesday, a health team that went to Champakana village in Kolnara block to vaccinate the residents had to return without vaccinating anyone.
As soon as the team reached, none turned up at the session site. After waiting for sometime when the team members went to their houses, they found none. Some villagers present there said most have fled due to the fear of getting jabbed.
In fact, the district administration had visited the same village on June 7 to make the villagers aware about the need for vaccination.
The villagers had also agreed to take the shot after the health team members convinced them. Accordingly the officials reached the village with an aim to complete at least 100 doses.
Sources said, people in these areas believe that the village deity will shield them from coronavirus. Earlier, even the PVTGs in the remote villages of the district had been reluctant to take jabs but as many of them were affected in the second wave, they agreed to get vaccinated.
Medical officer of Kolnara community health centre (CHC) Dr G.Sailaja confirmed that villagers ran away to escape vaccination. Official sources said the district administration has been apprised of the situation and fresh attempts will be made to vaccinate the villagers.
Kolnara block on Thursday reported 31 fresh cases of Covid-19 while the district death toll in the district stood at 120 besides two deaths in the last 24 hours.
Digital divide affects vaccination drive in rural Jagatsinghpur
For people in the coastal and rural areas of Jagatsinghpur, booking slots online for vaccination has become a cause of concern in the absence of smartphones and proper internet connection.
Collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra tweeted on June 6 about the opening of slots for vaccination of the 18-44 age group in the District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) on June 7, 8 and 9.
But since the drive started, several people have complained of problems in finding a slot and booking as they struggle with poor internet connectivity and the slots get filled in no time. For those who are unaware of the process, the level of difficulty is even higher.
Lawyer activist Gatikrushna Satpathy has sought the intervention of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the matter.
“The government must take steps to increase centres and launch vaccination drives in CHCs and PHCs through online booking along with offline booking facilities for those with no access to smartphones,” he urged.
District Immunization Officer PK Barik said there is no provision to educate people about online slot booking, adding, “Vaccines have been administered in the 18+ age at the DHH only and due to shortage, no date has yet been fixed for the next booking online,” added Barik.