In the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, where the Health Department has gone to hilly and inaccessible areas, before the “third wave” of Corona, a fleet has been raised to vaccinate all the people. However, more emphasis is being laid on vaccination in Budgam, one of the most affected districts. With the onset of summer in Budgam district, a large number of local people take their cattle to the hills and return only after 4-5 months.
This view is visible from last few days in Daudpathri of Budgam district, 42 km away from Srinagar. The Health Department of Budgam district is running a special campaign to vaccinate hundreds of migrant Gujjars and Bakarwals who come to Daudpathri during summers, and so far 80 percent of the people in the area have been vaccinated. Budgam district is included in the “Red Zone” districts in the Kashmir Valley.
According to Dr Tajamul Hussain Khan, Chief Medical Officer, Budgam, even though 73 percent of people above 45 years of age have been vaccinated in Budgam district, more people in the district fall in the category of 18-44 years, so this is the reason for this. This campaign has been started keeping the group in the target and till now the areas which have survived the vaccination have been selected.
The area of Daudpathri is a tourist spot as well as a pasture for the Bakarwal and Gujjar communities. Due to being at an altitude of 8,957 feet above the sea, the weather here remains quite cold. To reach the area, the health department team has to walk several kilometers on foot.
To reach the people living in the hilly area, the health department team has to cross the Dudhganga river flowing through the area, and being a hilly river, this river remains in spate, but neither the river nor the mountain for the health workers. And the stones have become a hindrance.
While health workers are vaccinating people in the pasture, on the other hand, women are being vaccinated by going to temporary houses built in the hills, which are called Dhok.
A nurse named Rabia said that we may have had to come to this inaccessible area with a lot of difficulties, but thankfully, no propaganda has reached the people about vaccination here. People may be scared of injecting, but everyone is getting ready to take the vaccine.
Even though the active cases of corona in Jammu and Kashmir have come down to less than 20 thousand, but the death due to corona continuously is a cause for concern. In the new cases, most of the cases are now coming from far flung areas, due to which mass testing is being done along with vaccination in Dodpathri.
In the last 24 hours, 20 percent of the new corona cases coming from the Kashmir Valley were from Budgam and the reason behind this is believed to be the distance of the people from the health care centers. Where in the rest of the country, the increasing publicity about the vaccine is affecting the speed of vaccination. But in the Kashmir Valley, health workers have started coming to the ground and trying to prevent any such incident. In Jammu and Kashmir, 70 percent people are still away from vaccination and experts are expressing concern on this.