Vaccine hesitancy has stuck more than 80 families in Dawal Malik, a village in the Gadag district in Karnataka as they refuse to get the Covid-19 jabs, leaving the health workers in a bit of a fix.
According to the reports, villagers of Dawal Malik in the Gadag district have decided not to take the Covid-19 vaccine. The villagers, who claim that they have the blessings of Dawal Malik, believe the spirit of the saint after whom the village is named will protect them from any evil or harm.
“Coronavirus will not enter our village. Even if it enters, it will not be able to kill us because we are living near the God who attracts thousands of devotees. God will protect us from all diseases… hence we are not taking any vaccine. They (government) do not have to worry about us,” a resident said.
The village with a population of around 500, where Dawal Malik is revered as a God, has not reported any Covid cases so far.
Reportedly, several worshippers from across faiths visit the village and the hilltop dargah of saint Dawal Malik to seek blessings. The villagers are confident that the spirit at the Dargah will keep an eye against any evil. In fact, the houses in this village do not even have doors, and villagers leave their door open all the time.
Villagers demand Rs.25,000 assurance bond to get vaccinated
As health officials, elected representative tried to persuade the villagers to get vaccinated, the villagers demanded an assurance in the form of a bond of Rs.25,000 in exchange for getting jabbed.
The health officials are finding it extremely difficult to jab these villagers. “We are finding it extremely difficult to persuade villagers to get vaccinated. We have been trying for the past four days by conducting awareness programmes, but they are adamant,” said Dr Preet Khona, a medical officer at the Mulgund primary health centre.
The health officials said that the villagers give excuses of not feeling well or funeral to skip the vaccination camp. If we insist, they say they are not worried about Covid-19 as the saint is protecting them, the health officials said.
A few have taken the first vaccine dose after repeated requests from the officials. “We will continue to persuade residents,” Dr Khona added.