Villagers fearful vaccination could cause death attack medical team with sticks, rods, swords.’We went there to create awareness and vaccinate people, but they didn’t want to get vaccinated.’
Footage out of India shows villagers violently turning back a medical team that arrived to distribute the Covid vaccine to people in the region.
The incident, which took place Monday in the Malikhedi village of the Ujjain district in Madhya Pradesh, left at least two persons injured after villagers attacked the team, with one man sustaining a head injury.
“We went there to create awareness and vaccinate people, but they didn’t want to get vaccinated,” the man who sustained a head injury, Shakil Mohammad Qureshi, told Asian News International.
“We thought we will go to them and talk to them, but some people came there along with a crowd & one man hit me on the head with a stick. They were 50 in number,” Qureshi said.
Qureshi claimed villagers argued they didn’t require vaccination because they were healthy. They were also skeptical of the shot due mainly to rumors of deaths related to the vaccine.
A town local described the team merely approaching villagers to discuss the vaccine before they were suddenly assailed.
“The medical team was talking about how Covid-19 is spreading and also about the vaccine. They didn’t force anyone to take the vaccine. They were interacting with the villagers when suddenly a group came and attacked them,” the local told India Today.
Another member of the team described villagers carrying “rods and swords,” according to the New Indian Express.
“The team… had come to the village to remove myths pertaining about vaccination and motivate them for inoculation. While the tehsildar [government official] and other team members were talking to villagers, a crowd of over 50 men and youths armed with rods and swords came to the spot and started misbehaving with the team.”
While the team claims it wasn’t administering compulsory vaccinations, the incident underscores the desperate lengths people will go to to avoid the vaccine especially given numerous confirmed reports of adverse side effects and even deaths.
Elsewhere in India, people in the village of Sisauda in the Barabanki district fled and jumped into the nearby Sarayu River Saturday night when a Covid medical team came to town.
According to Jagran News, “these people said that we know that if we get this vaccine, we will die.” Many villagers believed the shots were “poisonous injections.”
One member of the medical team, Rajiv Shukla, recalled the incident in comments to the Times of India:
“We reached the village with a medical team to vaccinate villagers. However, as soon as they saw us approaching, many of them ran away. When we tried to stop them, they jumped into the river. We tried to sensitize them about the importance of the vaccine but they did not relent. We tried hard to allay their apprehensions, but only 14 people [got] themselves inoculated.”