CHENNAI: Complacency among the tribal population in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu to inoculate themselves has affected the vaccine drive in the district. Sources in the district health administration told IANS that the reason for the lack of inoculation among the tribal population is not due to lack of awareness but mainly due to complacency and vaccine hesitancy.
About 60 percent of the tribal population in the district are yet to inoculate themselves with the first dose of vaccine and the health department is trying to launch awareness programmes among the tribal colonies of the district.
K R Rajashekharan, social activist and leader of the left progressive movement of Dharmapuri told IANS, "The government health department has held several camps, around 455 vaccination camps in the district every week. However, 60 percent of the tribal population not inoculated with even the first dose of the vaccine is a serious matter and the focus of the health department must now be among this population and to complete vaccination among them as early as possible."
He said that the district collector of Dharmapuri has already called a meeting of the tribal leaders and that of 'Oorukootams' to create awareness among them and to overcome their vaccine hesitancy.
In Vathalmalai and Sitheri tribal colonies of the district, only 30 percent of the population have vaccinated themselves after 445 vaccination camps and 100 random mobile vaccine clinics were set up.
The district administration along with the health and social welfare department is planning a door-to-door survey of the tribal hamlets of Vathalmalai, Sitheri, Alakattu, and Eriyur to get first-hand knowledge on the exact number of tribal people who are vaccinated. To remove the vaccine hesitancy, educated youths from nearby colonies are being roped in to talk to the tribal leaders to make sure that they take at least the first dose of vaccine as early as possible.
A senior doctor with the district health department told IANS, "The situation is grave among the tribal population of this district as more than 60 percent of the population are yet to take the vaccine and Covid-19 is on a rampage in the state. We have to accelerate the vaccine drive among the tribals and focused action is necessary to inoculate the entire population in a short span of time at least with the first dose."