To vac or not to vac: villages in Haryana ponder

Covid-19 Health National

People in a village in Haryana were scared of getting vaccinated about a month and a half ago, but a surge in Covid cases is helping them change their minds.

Haryana: About a month and a half ago, an incident in Siwan village put the scare of the vaccine into the villagers. The wife of a local petrol pump owner died a few days after getting vaccinated, according to the sarpanch of the village. 

The woman,  in her 40s, got a paralysis attack after a couple of days of getting the vaccine and then died. But, said, Amrender Singh Khaira, sarpanch of Siwan village “the reason, whether it was due to vaccination or not, is not known,” he said.

The village has a population of around 20,000 people. The vaccination drive for people above the age of 45 years is going on in Siwan. The Haryana government imposed a  lockdown on May 3, 2021, which is now extended to May 31, 2021.

“I don’t have faith in the Indian vaccine,” said Sanjeev Saini, a resident of the village. “Will I not get Covid-19 if I get vaccinated?” he asked. “I have seen a lot of people dying after getting both vaccine doses. I am trying to find the positive effect of vaccination,” he said, adding,  “Kadha is better than getting injected with some water in the injection.” 

However, when the Sputnik vaccine arrives in his village, he is willing to give it a shot. 

There is a fear among people, sarpanch Khaira, who has taken both doses of Covishield, said. Around 185 people are under self-isolation in the village. “The number of deaths due to Covid-19 has increased in the village. I would suggest people get vaccinated,” he said. 

“This is India!” said Monika, a Multi-Purpose Health Worker (MPHW). People will react the way they are reacting, nobody can stop them. “But yes! I believe that they should get vaccinated,” she said.

Monika further said that if something ought to happen, it will happen within 24 hours of a person getting vaccinated. It does not have to take a few days, or weeks to react. “Even when we inject children with other vaccines, during their course of getting different injections, like HepB, DTaP, we ask their parents to look out for 24 hours, not more than that,” she said. 

“The virus is out there, it is real! But people only believe it when it comes to them or their loved ones. Thus, people think that there is nothing like the Covid-19 virus,” she added. 

Rajesh Kumar aka Boby, owner of a salon, is another naysayer  He has refused to take the vaccine so far  His salon was a space for people to talk about various things, including the vaccine.  “Before the lockdown was imposed in the state, a number of people would come to my salon and discuss whether one should get vaccinated or not and what if they died after getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said. 

Asha, a front-line worker who lives in Ismailabad, approximately 57 kilometers from Siwan however, has taken both doses, and her son has taken his first dose. Her nephews in Siwan have been trying to berate her for having taken the vaccines, but the Anganwadi worker does not care. “I know nothing will happen, I myself got jabbed in the first phase of the vaccination drive,” she said. Several villages in India are going through the same situation. A number of health workers in villages in Maharashtra are trying hard to convince people and help them with their hesitancy.