The challenges that volunteers, administrative officials are facing is to convince the tribal population who hold on to their traditional values to accept modern medicine and take vaccine doses,
Rajasthan government has initiated several measures to persuade the “movable middle” population at the tribal hinterlands to go for free vaccination that started in the country on Jun 21. The measures include distributing ration kits, free travel to nearest Covid centres, and involving ‘bhupas’ (tribal priests) for trust-building exercise.
Rajasthan so far has vaccinated 78.3 per cent of the population but the drive has not been that successful at the tribal districts of Dungarpur, Pratapgarh and Udaipur where coverage for the 45 plus category is the lowest, reported IE. In Udaipur’s Jhadol block, the SDM has distributed 2, 000 free ration kits to influence the population to come and take the vaccination. The free ration kits that were sourced from tribal hostels that remained shut due to Covid include rice, dal, puffed rice, flour, and oil, said the SDM.
The constraints that volunteers are facing is to convince the tribal population who hold on to their traditional values to accept modern medicine and take vaccine doses, recalls a government teacher, Durga Ram with influence in Madri panchayat. In order to assure the population he also has to sometimes promise them ‘mautana’ (compensation on death).
The official also picks ration shops for point of contact where the booth-level officers check population against an electoral roll and persuade the ones who haven’t taken the shot yet, informed DM Chetan Deora. The population is also provided travel assistance to visit the nearest vaccination centre and return back to their place of dwelling.
A video of an administrative official in Udaipur threatening shopkeepers and vegetable vendors of penal action for not taking vaccination went out on social media but the DM denied such reports of pressurizing people by unethical means.
Mavli block of the district has roped in sarpanch of villages to convince the population. Special camps have been organized for shopkeepers and vendors and free travel for the vulnerable population including differently-abled and windows. Dr Ashok Aditya, the district nodal official for vaccination is trying to cover rumours with positive videos of vaccinated people in Kotra Block of Udaipur district.
State Family Welfare Director Laxman Singh Ola mentions that although the administration is doing its best to bust myths around vaccination for the tribal populations, vaccine availability remains a hurdle.
Rajasthan has become the fourth state to crore 20crore vaccination mark. So far 2.21 crore vaccine doses, both Covishiled and Covaxin combined were procured and allocated. Centre informed that the state would be allocated 65.20 lakh more vaccines this month to which the Ashok Gehlot led government questioned that by month-end, the state needs to give 74.66 lakh people secound vaccine dose.