This J&K village has fully vaccinated its adults

This J&K hamlet is the first village in India to fully vaccinate its adult population against Covid-19

The vaccination in the village was covered under 'J&K model’, which is a 10-point strategy to vaccinate entire eligible population at an accelerated pace

Representative Image. Credit: PTI Photo

Vaccine advocacy, faith building, and community mobilisation were key elements in making sure that a remote and sleepy hamlet in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district becomes the first village in the country to vaccinate its entire adult population against Covid-19.

There was a lot of misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine in Weyan, 86 kms from Srinagar and 28 kms from district headquarters Bandipora, as villagers, mostly nomads, were reluctant to take the jab.

Non-availability of internet in the village was another hurdle as it was not possible for the villagers to register themselves on the Cowin platform for vaccination.

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However, a sustained awareness campaign by health and ASHA workers accompanied by local teachers ensured the hamlet achieved the unique milestone by becoming the first village to be fully vaccinated in the country. To enable online registration for vaccines, they collected Adhar cards of all the eligible villagers, and registered them through their own mobile phones.

A local resident, Riyaz Ahmed said when health workers tried to convince him to take Covid-19 vaccine some weeks ago, he, like many others in the village refused, saying that the jab may prove fatal.

“I had heard somewhere that Covid vaccine shots are lethal and if a doctor errs while administering the shot, it will lead to an infection in the arm. The only way to save the person thereafter was by amputating the limb,” he was quoted by KNS, a local news agency, as saying.

Block Medical Officer (BMO), Bandipora, Dr Masarat Iqbal said the myths about the vaccine was a big hurdle initially as people were strongly opposed to it. “During the first inoculation drive, our team had to come back as people refused to take vaccine shots. They were gripped by fear,” he said.

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The record achieved in the village, without any road connectivity and access to the Internet, is attributed to the “J&K Model”, under which the administration reached out to the people, instead of the people flooding the vaccination centres. “J&K Model” is a 10-point strategy to inoculate everyone who is eligible for the shots at a faster pace.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Bandipora, Dr Bashir Ahmed Khan said health workers had to make a dangerous trek to make sure every single eligible individual in Weyan was vaccinated. The health workers had to cover an 18 kms distance by foot from Athwatoo which is the last village accessible by road.

“Entire populations above 18 years were vaccinated with a total 362 beneficiaries. The people of the village go to the upper reaches along with cattle during summer so it was important to reach out to them before they move out,” Dr Khan said.

Commenting on the achievement, Yatish Yadav, media advisor to J&K government, said the Union territory was raising the bar in the Covid vaccination drive.

“#JammuAndKashmirModel. And we thought up to now that Everest was the highest and toughest peak of Himalayas. But, some journey brings a new light, a new life. Team J&K raising the bar on vaccination drive,” Yadav tweeted.