A wave of relief spread across the nation following the discovery of the vaccine for the lethal Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the vaccine’s availability. Most people have voluntarily taken the vaccine and some are hesitant to step forward for it. While it is essential that citizens take the designated doses of the approved vaccine by the Central Government, numerous rumours are making rounds on social media and netizens are talking about it widely which is worrying the people across the country. Rumours have it that the vaccine contains cow beef, meat, or fat, pig blood or it’s part are making people question the legitimacy of the vaccine.
The rumours surfaced when about 50-60 residents of Palwal District in Haryana, in letters addressed to the local administration and the Chief Minister’s office alleged that they do not wish to take the vaccine as they fear it may contain cow blood, meat, or fat.
A few statements of the residents read as, “There is no authenticity. It contains parts of aborted foetus, pigs and chimpanzees. We are not even sure if Covid is really a disease. We are being fed lies.” “Taking the vaccine will destroy our religion. It has cow’s meat and fat. This is hurting our religious sentiments.” read the fear of the residents from Haryana, reported media reports. Palwal stands at the 17th position among 22 districts with 1,252 inoculations. Addressing the matter, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Basant Dubey, said, “People are not taking the shots fearing they can make them infertile. There are others who think the vaccine contains parts of pig. We are trying to address these concerns by holding meetings with the local communities and spreading awareness through radio and multimedia platforms. People are also not willing to go to the session sites. Many of them are not even convinced that Covid is a disease for which they need to take the vaccine.”
On the government’s request to take measures to improve vaccination numbers in the district, The Palwal Health Department said that it cannot force an individual to take the vaccine. “We informed the deputy commissioner that this is a voluntary affair and we are not getting involved in the matter.” said, Brahmdeep Sandhu, Paliwal District Chief Medical Officer.