DOTI, Sept 20: The locals of Kadamandau VDC of Doti district, where four infants died within 24 hours after being vaccinated against measles and other infectious diseases just one month ago, have boycotted the monthly vaccination campaign launched by the government.
Fearing that more infants may die if they are administered with measles and DPT vaccines, the villagers did not allow the staff of Kadamandau Sub Health Post to collect vaccines from Sana Gaun Health Post, which has been instructed to distribute vaccines to nearby VDCs including Kadamandau.
The Child Health Division (CHD) has been carrying out vaccination campaign every month through District Public Health Offices (DPHOs) across the country to protect children from measles and DPT.
However, in the wake of last month´s tragedy, this month´s vaccination campaign was disrupted in Kadamandau for the first time. Man Bahadur Deuba, an office assistant at Kadamandau Sub Health Post, was supposed to collect measles and DPT vaccines from Sana Gau. But, he was barred from going there.
After the deaths of four infants, Village Health Worker (VHW) Amrita Bogati, who administered vaccines last month, has been transferred to the DPHO, Doti. As there was no one to administer vaccines in Kadamandau, the DPHO had instructed another VHW Pushpa Raj Joshi of Gajari Health Post to go to Kadamandau for the vaccination drive. But, he was not allowed to administer measles and DPT vaccines to any infant.
According to Ram Prasad Upadhyaya, a local of Kadamandau, the government officials have not tried to assure the villagers that no more infants would die of vaccination. "This is another reason why the local villagers unanimously rejected the vaccination program," he said.
Meanwhile, the DPHO in Doti has decided to organize a mass gathering in Kadamandau to assuage the fears of local villagers.
"The misconception that vaccines kill has already entered into the minds of the locals," said Ram Swarth Yadav, a vaccination supervisor. "We need to rid them of this misconception. Else, implications of rejection of vaccination drive will be more serious."