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Rashmi Ranjan

Despite Odisha government 's plethora of efforts to make people aware of Covid-19 pandemic and vaccination, rigid beliefs and misinformation about coronavirus and inoculation seem to be quite prevalent in the interior pockets of the State.

In a glaring instance, the residents of Jurudi village here in the district fled after seeing members of the Serosurvey team which had visited the area to collect samples for testing.

According to reports, when the team reached the village to conduct the fourth phase of survey, some villagers climbed the hills near the village, while some others locked doors to keep themselves away from the reach of the health workers.

After repeated attempts of ASHA and Anganwadi workers, some villagers allowed the health workers to collect samples. However, the number of samples are not sufficient, said a team member.

"The people here think that they will die if they undergo Covid testa or give blood sample for testing. After some health workers gave their sample, few villagers participated in the survey," a member of the Serosurvey team said.

"We have directed ANM and ASHA workers to visit door to door at block-level to create awareness among people about Covid-19," said Saroj Kumar Mishra , Rayagada Collector.

In another instance, rigid beliefs coupled with misinformation regarding vaccination have emerged as a major obstacle in the immunisation drive at Badangi block under Soroda block in Ganjam district. 

Even though the health workers including Anganwadi and ANM staff are making repeated rounds of villages and convincing the villagers about the importance of vaccination in the fight against Covid-19, the locals are reluctant to take the jab.

The tribals living in Belapanu, Madhura Bandha, Pipala Panga, Mayangi and Labanasi villages are not willing for vaccine administration citing possibility of death post vaccination. 

"I have heard from many people about side effects, even death after vaccination. If the government is assureing nothing will happen, then why people are experiencing various difficulties," asked Ramesh Nayak. a resident of Badangi.   

While, the district administration has aimed at vaccinating 44,000 persons above 45 years age group, only 11,000 persons have been vaccinated so far, sources said.

"People are not willing to take vaccine. They are fearing they might develop fever and will be shifted to hospital post vaccination," said Basanti Nayak, an ANM worker.

Similarly, Bolangir is no exception. Despite assurance, promises from the health workers, the residents of the districts, who are mainly migrant workers, are not willing to take Covid vaccine and cooperating with the medical teams.

"People are dying after vaccine administration. So we are not going for the vaccination," said Tularam Bag, a local.

"Even though our staff are moving door to door to convince Charapani residents to take vaccine, it has yielded no results," lamented Dr Bhim Sahoo, Bolangir CDMO.

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