Fear of vaccine still widespread in Kashmir

Fear of vaccine still widespread in Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Nearly two months after the first jab of Covid-19 vaccine was given in Kashmir Valley, apprehensions about getting vaccinated are still widespread among people.

As per official figures, neither all health care professionals nor front line workers, nor all persons above 45 have got their first shot of vaccine.

Muhammad Afzal, a 53-year-old government officer, is one of many fearful citizens who have not taken the jab. He has not vaccinated his aged parents, too. The government’s assurances have not been convincing for him, he says. What remains itched in his mind is the news of persons contracting Covid-19 infection after receiving the first shot of the vaccine.

“Look, the vaccine is not a cure, but only induces immunity to better fight the infection. But what could happen in the process remains unknown and uncertain. I will be the last person to take it, come what way. I am following the SOPs, and will keep doing so religiously,” he told Kashmir.

Afzal is not among the nearly 70,000 people who have been vaccinated so far in Kashmir. More than 80,000 health workers remain unvaccinated, so do close to 3,70,000 front line workers.

As per government data, across India 180 people have lost their lives after receiving the Covid vaccine. Research to know the reason for their death is still on, but the government is continuing to assure that the vaccine cannot kill. It has reported that side effects have been observed in 20,000 people but 97 percent of them are mild to moderate.

Acute coronary syndrome, cerebrovascular accident, sudden death and respiratory infections were the commonest side effects of the vaccine, as per the All-India Immunisation Committee studying the after effects of the vaccine.

While the figures do not show any alarming picture, still, people are reluctant. Muhammad Mutten is another 55-year-old government officer who has not taken the vaccine. The reason, he says, is simply, fear!

The poor response by people has forced the administration in some areas to make it mandatory to get vaccine.

“All those consumers whose age is 45 years and above are informed that they shall vaccinate themselves against Covid-19 at the nearest Covid-19 vaccination centre and fetch your ration accordingly,” read an order, which was withdrawn soon, issued by the food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

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