Infertility Rumors, Misinformation: Why Nuh Only Administered 800 Precautionary Doses

Only 821 precautionary doses have been administered in Nuh district since the third dose of vaccination for the elderly (over 60) and frontline and health care workers began on January 10. Of these, 332 were administered on the first day itself. Over the past week, an average of 13 paltry precautionary doses have been administered in one day in the district.

Nuh has the lowest vaccination rate among 22 districts in Haryana. According to data shared by the district administration, the coverage of the first dose in Nuh was 72% and the coverage of the second dose was 35%.

Nuh was among the 48 worst performing districts in terms of immunization coverage in the country, according to data shared at a conference of state health ministers in Delhi in October 2021. At a rally in Nuh in November 2021 , Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar said the Prime Minister expressed concern about the immunization rate in the district and appealed to people not to spread rumors and misinformation.

In the 15-17 age group, only a third (29,206) of the more than 90,000 eligible teenagers received the first dose since January 3.

Health department officials attributed the slow pace of vaccination to several factors, including low literacy, ignorance and rumours, and locals’ misinformation about vaccines.

Dr Harshit Goyal from Nuh Community Health Center (CHC) said: “There is a myth among people here that vaccines cause infertility in men. A lot of people say “hamare bachhe nhi honge teeka lagwaya toh (if we get the vaccine we won’t be able to have children)”… We tried to educate people but they indulge in conspiracy theories , and this along with a low literacy rate, contributes to a lower vaccination rate.

Officials said that since the government had made it compulsory for people to be vaccinated and tied it to the provision of services – rationing, petrol, pension, banking etc. – there had been a slight increase.

Nishar Khan, a resident of Tauru, who received his first dose earlier this month, said: “I could not get vaccinated earlier as I had been staying with my wife in Rajasthan since the pandemic. hit. I recently returned and decided to get vaccinated as it was made compulsory to access services and rations.

At Nuh Community Health Center, a one-stop-shop for vaccinations for all age groups has been set up. A health department employee filled in people’s registration details on the CoWin portal before their inoculations. “The majority of people who come here are not internet savvy. So our staff helps them with the registrations,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sunita, an ANM worker at a primary health center in Ghasera, said vaccine hesitancy was a major concern: “There is still a lot of misinformation and rumors about Covid in this part of the country. State… Some think the vaccination program is a conspiracy. of the government. At the village and community level, we work with the panchayats to advise people on the long-term benefits of vaccination.

Earlier this week, the Nuh SDM held a meeting with local clerics and maulvis, calling on them to educate people about the benefits of vaccination and not to believe rumours, after some videos about the harmful effects of the vaccine went viral on social media. in the neighborhood.

Dr Surender Kumar, Nuh’s chief medical officer, denied that misinformation and rumors were behind the low rate of third doses. “As the vaccination rate only increased in the district after November 2021, a majority of the population is not yet eligible for the precautionary dose. In schools, we set up camps and vaccinated nearly a third of eligible teenagers. There is some ignorance among a minority of the population, but our staff are constantly conducting awareness programs to dispel rumours.

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