Rajkot: The Rajkot district health officials are in a fix as nearly 50 villages are opposing the Covid-19 vaccination one grounds of superstition, blind belief and misinformation.
On Sunday, a team of health officials visited Satda village nearly 25 km from Rajkot city to convince the people for vaccination. They got the response that nobody was infected with coronavirus in the village because of the grace of their local deity. The villagers told the health officials that they would offer prasad to the goddess for keeping them healthy. They asked the health officials not to enter the village as it would upset their deity.
Several village panchayats have written to the district administration (TOI possess three such letters) asking district officials not to enter their village for the vaccination. These villages include Parevda gram panchayat, Barvan gram panchayat and Mesvada gram panchayat.
Hasmukh Limbasiya of Mesvada village said, “I tried to convince the villagers to take the vaccine, but they are not willing to do so for various reasons. They think that they are healthy and they don’t need it. They have the blessings of their god.”
When contacted Rajkot chief district health officer (CDHO) Nilesh Shah said, “Compare to urban areas, we are facing difficulties in convincing the villagers to take the vaccine. We have received letters from several gram panchayats that people there are not ready for vaccination. From today (Monday) we have asked all the political leaders at district level, prant officers, talatis, nodal officers to form a team and try and convince the villagers.”
Another health officer said that they even roped in a bhuva (shaman) in a village of Vinchhiya taluka to convince the people that they should take the vaccine shots, but that move too proved to be a failure.
The vaccination drive for the third phase for senior citizens and patients with comorbidities (aged between 45 to 60 years) was started in 310 community health centres and primary health centres in Rajkot district. The vaccination program was extended to every village from Saturday, where public buildings were used as vaccination centres. The health officials are now giving priority to those villages, where people are less hesitant about vaccination.