Dispelling COVID vaccine myths in Gorakhpur
“Vaccination saves lives at every stage of life. I read this quote last year when I was preparing my dissertation for an MSc degree at that time. It was just a simple quote for me, but now I have learned how beautiful it is,” Harshit, youth leader, and Medha alumni from Gorakhpur, shared with us.
Harshit added that he had learned many things from the community, and during the pandemic, he decided to support the community by giving back. During the second wave of the coronavirus, Harshit, with his team of 100 young people, helped hundreds of families find hospital beds, medical oxygen, and medicine in a crisis.
“As the situation improved a bit and the country progressed towards vaccination, we saw that vaccine hesitancy was increasing a lot in the society,” said Harshit.
He added, “Especially the people working in the informal sector or living in slums had a firm belief in myths and false information regarding the vaccines. To dispel fears and myths and raise understanding of getting vaccinated, I decided to talk to people in different communities and listen to their concerns.”
Harshit and his team of 20 university students covered three major areas, Jail Road, Gopalpur and Laldiggi in Gorakhpur, speaking to approximately 2,000 people.
Sharing his experience, he said, “During the drive, we met two types of people, some of whom were hesitant, but I was surprised to see that a majority of people were willing to get the vaccine but didn’t know the registration process.
“We distributed masks and pamphlets explaining the whole registration process. We did a small Nukkad-Natak (street play) to mobilize the community and help them understand the importance of vaccination and COVID-appropriate behavior. This chance to experience people’s lives in the slums and witness first-hand how the people are surviving in these tough times has made a lasting impression.”
Medha alumni community is proud of young leaders like Harshit, who step up to work for the betterment of society.