Seeking to dispel myths, misconceptions and fears about Covid-19 vaccines among tribes, the Center on Thursday launched a campaign involving traditional leaders and local influencers that will cover more than 50,000 villages in 309 districts.
The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation (TRIFED) under the Department of Tribal Affairs will anchor the campaign which started from Bastar in Chhattisgarh and Mandla in Madhya Pradesh. TRIFED partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for the campaign.
Officials said the campaign is expected to reach around 50 tribal and forest lakhs in around 50,000 villages in 309 districts.
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Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda said, “There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding the Covid-19 vaccination. This campaign focuses on removing these barriers. This is the time when we are raising awareness about vaccination for a possible third wave.
Authorities have witnessed reluctance to vaccinate among part of the population, including tribals, due to misconceptions.
The campaign aims to send a message to people that vaccination protects against serious illness and death. Additionally, some of the tribe members, officials said, deny the existence of Covid-19 and believe it is just normal fever.
TRIFED involves local religious leaders and community elders to dispel these myths. Awareness programs will be organized in fertilizer sales centers, haats and bazaars, milk collection points and Van Dhan Vikas Kendras.
Pre-recorded messages in local dialects and languages as well as tribal folk songs will be used, officials said.