No more running away from vaccines, villagers in Tamil Nadu have realised this. Past their initial hesitation, when they fought not to get themselves vaccinated, the situation is now a complete volte-face.
Over the past few weeks most villagers have been hurrying to get the first dose with Nilgiris becoming the first district in the state to inoculate all eligibles.
Some villages have also shown gestures like providing gifts to the health workers who reach their hamlets to vaccinate the populace.
Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian told IANS: “Things have come a full circle, from an apprehensive population who were running away from the health workers by climbing trees and diving into rivers, the villagers have come to terms with the vaccination and the necessity of getting themselves inoculated.
“Now they are inviting health workers in traditional Tamil ways and are also providing small gifts like sweets and fruits to the health workers. This is indeed a welcome sign.”
K. Kathiravan of the Killiyur Primary Health centre told IANS: ” here were reluctance on the part of the villagers when we organized a vaccination camp for the first time. They feared they would get killed after the jabs but we educated them through local social workers and our health workers.
“Convincing was not easy but when fifteen people tested Covid 19 positive and two people died they panicked.
“We told them that vaccination is important and then they listened to us. Now every one in the village has vaccinated and have also showered us with their love and even small gifts like homemade sweets were given to health and revenue workers.”
The health minister said it was the tireless effort of the state health department, revenue department and government officials with the support of volunteers and NGO’s under the guidance of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin who have made this possible.
Stalin had presented a certificate of merit to Nilgiris district collector Innocent Divya on Doctors’ Day at the secretariat on the district’s achievement of vaccinating all the tribal population as well as tea workers and other marginalized people thus becoming the first district in the state to have conducted hundred percent vaccination (First dose of vaccine).
The health Minister has already gone on record saying that the state has the infrastructure to vaccinate 6 lakh people per day and that only shortage of vaccines were pulling them back.