Adivasis counselled for vaccine reluctance

The vaccine hesitancy among the forest dwelling tribes in Chamarajanagar district has been removed through counselling and measures are in place to cover 32,000 adivasis within the next few days.

There are 150 tribal haadis or hamlets in the district and the district administration has converted the Girijana Ashrama Schools into vaccination centres.

M.R. Ravi, Deputy Commissioner, Chamarajanagar district, said that a majority of adivasi hamlets are within close range of the schools and converting them into vaccination centre makes it easier to cover the hamlets.

It is easier to mobilise the people and bring them to the nearest school where the rooms have been converted into vaccinating area and observation rooms.

The removal of vaccine hesitancy entailed discussions with tribal leaders who were first convinced of the medical efficacy and importance of taking the jab. “We requested them to motivate their respective community members and things are now in place for vaccinating the adivasis – mainly Jenu Kurubas and Soligas - spread across Kollegal, Yelandur and Chamarajanagar taluks’’, said Mr. Ravi.

Their general reluctance to take the jab stemmed from their way of life and the adivasis argued that as they are isolated and dispersed in remote areas with hardly any contact with the outside world, the chances of contracting the virus was remote. But despite their relative isolation no hamlet is completely cut off from the taluks and district headquarters nor is the interaction non-existent and hence the tribals were prevailed upon to take the jab in their own interest and safety.

Apart from the adivasis, the district administration has identified nearly 25,000 women belonging to various self-help groups and above 45 years of age who were yet to take the vaccination.

They too are being covered and the anganwadi workers and the staff from the Department of Women and Child Welfare are overseeing the vaccination drive. The women in the target age group will be brought to the nearest anganwadi centres or the health sub-centres and inoculated, said the Deputy Commissioner.

In a bid to increase the vaccination coverage all the five APMC markets in Chamarajanagar district have been identified as vaccination centres. They begin functioning from 7 a.m. when the farmers, traders, retailers and wholesale dealers converge at the market and those above 45 and not yet covered, are being given the jab.

Each APMC market has an office and the authorities have taken over a portion of it to convert one part into a vaccination room and another portion into observation room. A doctor and a nurse have been deployed at all the places and an ambulance is also stationed to handle any emergency. Another group in focus is the teaching community and 1,900 teachers above 45 years are yet to receive the vaccination. The district administration, in conjunction with the Department of Education, has identified the persons and has arranged for their vaccination and they are expected to be covered within the next 4 to 5 days, according to Mr. Ravi.

There are 3.22 lakh persons above 45 years of age in Chamarajanagar district of which about 1.5 lakh individuals have been covered so far.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 4:31:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/adivasis-counselled-for-vaccine-reluctance/article34386649.ece

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