Rumors derail vaccination campaign in rural Bihar | Patna News

PATNA: Despite the government’s efforts to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, many myths and misunderstandings circulating on social networks have severely affected the vaccination campaign in rural areas from Bihar.
People are reluctant to get vaccinated and also attack doctors and vaccination vans in some places. They fear that taking vaccines could lead to loss of sexual virility (manhood), instant death, disability, life-threatening reactions and other lifelong illnesses.
Arwal district civil surgeon Dr Arvind Kumar said on Friday that several incidents of brawl between villagers and medical staff involved in the vaccination campaign had been reported in recent weeks. “Every time the villagers see the van or the vaccination camp, they chase the medical staff. These people think that if they get the vaccine they will either become helpless or die. They are misled by social media posts. We aim to vaccinate 1,700 people per day in rural areas. However, we are managing less than 30%, ”Dr Arvind said, adding that to quell the rumors they will soon launch the awareness campaign in rural areas.
Citing recent incidents of attacks on medical personnel, Bhagalpur civil surgeon Dr Umesh Kumar said the vaccination campaign in rural areas was deadlocked. “On Friday, the vaccination van traveled to the village of Barari, where people left their homes with sticks. To save their lives, the medical staff returned without vaccinating even one person. Such incidents have often been reported in rural areas. Earlier, the villagers attacked the mobile van in Rangra block. We reported the matter to the Ministry of Health, ”he told this newspaper.
“Minor fights between medical staff and villagers often break out because people are not even ready to listen. Many of them say they have heard that those who get vaccinated die. To allay the fear, we roped up Anganwadi and ASHA workers and local officials to motivate people to get vaccinated. However, in urban areas we have not seen such hesitation, ”said Dr Ajay Kumar Singh, civilian surgeon from Khagaria.
Bettiah’s civilian surgeon, Dr Arun Kumar Sinha, said villagers were not only hesitant about the vaccine, but outright refusing to take it, especially for no reason. “Me, with the DM, I visited the Loriya block where there were so many rumors against the vaccine. Some villagers told us that they had heard that if they took the vaccine they would suffer from illnesses for life. We are trying to get them the right information, ”he said.
Araria civil surgeon Dr Maheshwar Prasad Gupta said local leaders and religious gurus were engaged in allaying fears associated with the vaccine as there was a lot of hesitation among the rural population.
Alok Ram (52) from Chakiya village in Saran district said people were dying after receiving the vaccines, which frightened the villagers. “I am illiterate but not an idiot. I have seen people who received the first shot of the vaccine and got sick. Some of them even died. My children are small. How can I risk my life, ”he said.
Raju Khan (49) from Sareyan Block in Gopalganj said: “After witnessing so many deaths, I am afraid to take the vaccine. The mobile van arrived today, but we refused to open our doors. Only a few stupid people in the village took the vaccine even though we told them about the deaths and side effects. ”
Vikash Mahto, who took the first dose about 45 days ago, refused to take the second dose. “I was really naive to take the vaccine after medical staff in Basantpur ward (Siwan district) told us it would protect against infection. Now I feel cheated, ”he said.

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