In a rather funny yet concerning incident, an elderly woman in Uttar Pradesh, was seen hiding and taking cover behind a drum inside her house as she refused to the COVID-19 vaccine during a door-to-door vaccination drive in Etawah. The incident in a way highlights the large-scale vaccine hesitancy plaguing India’s rural belt.
The elderly woman is seen crouching and hiding behind a drum in fear of the vaccine even as everyone present there try and talk to her.
“The vaccination people have come. Where are you, amma?” someone is heard saying in the video.
Her family and the healthcare workers try to persuade her to step out and talk about why she was scared of taking the jab. She is seen smiling and politely refusing them by saying she doesn’t want to take it.
A doctor then approaches the woman and coaxes her to come out. “I am a doctor. I am not here to give you an injection. We are here just to speak with you. At least come and listen to your MLA,” the doctor says.
Eventually the woman comes out of her ‘hiding spot’ and met the MLA followed by getting vaccinated. According to a report by NDTV, BJP MLA Sarita Bhadauria and a Health Department team went to Chandanpur village in Etawah for a vaccination and awareness drive on Tuesday.
“People are a little unaware in the villages. Many officials were with me, and we were encouraging people to get vaccinated. The woman was first at the door, but on seeing us she ran and hid behind a drum. She was scared,” Ms Bhadauria said in an interview later that evening.
This is not the first instance where vaccine hesitancy was seen in a village. Earlier in May, a group of villagers in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district jumped into a river and crossed over to the other side to escape a vaccination drive.
The villagers were apparently told by someone that it was not a vaccine, but a poisonous injection. Last week, Barabanki villagers chased away a medical team with sticks. The team of the Kothi community health centre was conducting tests at the ration shop in Kotwa village, around 50 km east of Lucknow.
In order to chase away fear and uninformed assumptions about the vaccine we need to talk more about it, especially to ones who are unaware and misinformed. Make sure to get the vaccine and get your family and staff vaccinated. (Also, go and hide your drum before someone hides behind it!)