The vaccination drive in India hasn’t been easy, owing to the sheer population of the country. While people run helter-skelter looking to get jabbed, Weyan, a remote hamlet in Jammu and Kashmir has become the first in India whose entire adult population has been vaccinated against COVID-19. By Presha Mahajan
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Weyan in the Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir is the first village to vaccinate its entire adult population of 362, courtesy the healthcare workers and medical teams’ arduous efforts. The vaccination was a part of the ‘J&K model’, a 10-point plan to immunise the entire eligible population at an expedited speed. Under this strategy, the staff reached out to the people in order to prevent overcrowding at vaccination centres.
Achieving this record wasn’t easy, however. The drive reportedly encountered its fair share of hindrances, starting with restricted mobility. The secluded village lies 28 kilometres away from the district headquarters with no motorable roads to access the place. Of this, 18 kilometres has to be travelled by foot.
The nomadic life of the villagers reportedly proved to be a challenge as well, for they often go to higher planes to graze their livestock and, thus, weren’t present to get vaccinated. It was, therefore, an urgent matter to reach out to them before they moved.
There were also a ton of myths and misinformation surrounding the vaccine and its side effects. Many residents, as a result, were dubious about the jab, and strongly opposed to it initially. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Block Medical Officer (BMO), Bandipora, Dr Masarat Iqbal said, “During the first inoculation drive, our team had to come back as people refused to take vaccine shots. They were gripped by fear.”
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What perhaps was the biggest obstacle in Weyan was the non-availability of internet facilities in the village, making it impossible for them to register themselves on CoWin. However, the credit goes to the healthcare workers, who ensured the drive occurred seamlessly regardless. It took a sustained awareness campaign by local teachers, Asha workers, and the medical staff to inform people about the vaccine and encourage them to go through with it. To facilitate online registrations, villagers’ Aadhar cards were collected and manually fed into the system using the organisers’ phones. This milestone was accomplished through mobilising and building faith in the community.
Lauding the efforts, Yatish Yadav, media advisor to Jammu and Kashmir tweeted, “#JammuAndKashmirModel. And we thought up to now that Everest was the highest and toughest peak of the Himalayas. But, some journeys bring a new light, a new life. Team J&K raising the bar on vaccination drive.”
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