India: Overcoming Rumors About VaccinesStory From a STOP Team Volunteer in the Field
Story From a STOP Team Volunteer in the Field
We just finished the second round of the National Immunization Day. It was very exciting, especially since one of my districts was also having an enormous Mela (fair) on the same day. Apparently this time of year about 1 million people come to Ayodha to take a holy dip in the river and also walk 52 kilometers around the city--barefoot. In fact some people travel the whole 52 kilometers on their hands and knees! As you may guess this made planning the immunization day a little difficult in the area.
My greatest success so far has been convincing a village to accept the polio vaccine. There is a rumor going around that the vaccine causes sterility, so many families are refusing to vaccinate their children. On this particular day, the nurse had visited the village three times to vaccinate children but the people refused. I went with the nurse to the village to talk with the women. I was able to find a local woman who was a supporter of the vaccine and brought her with me to talk to the people. At first the women didn't want to vaccinate their children, but after we spoke with them about the benefits of vaccination, they agreed.