In Rural India, Extreme Covid Vaccine Hesitancy

Puja Changoiwala in Undark:

The health workers try to explain to Dolhare that his relative succumbed to Covid-19, and that he, too, should be inoculated to protect himself from infection. “But how will I get corona if it doesn’t exist?” he asks, repeating the false claim.

The tribal belt where Shivpada lies spans 16 villages, says medical officer Yogesh Pawar, and Covid-19 vaccination rates are low across the region: He estimates that 82 percent of the population hasn’t had a single shot. This is in stark contrast to India as a whole, where 73 percent have received at least one dose. In October 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter announcing the administration of one billion vaccine doses in a nation of 1.4 billion people. Amid allegations of manipulations in vaccination figures, the official number of doses administered stands at more than 1.87 billion today. The coverage, however, faces a deep urban-rural gap. The situation is especially stark in the tribal-dominated districts of rural India, where Covid-19 vaccination coverage is the lowest.

More here.