Datem del Marañón Province, Peru, Aug 22 (EFE).- With no intercultural health system and a lack of effective health campaigns encouraging vaccination, Peru’s indigenous community are resisting the Covid-19 shot and choosing to rely on traditional herbal medicine instead.
“They (health workers) have come by plane to vaccinate us but we have not allowed it,” vice-president of the Kandozi Organization of the Huitoyacu River, Guillermo Yumbatos, told Efe from the remote indigenous village of San Fernando in the Amazon region of Loreto.
The man, wearing a traditional toucan feather crown, said those from his village who choose to get vaccinated must sign a legal document to assume the risks and responsibilities as community leaders don’t trust in the vaccine and its efficacy.
“When the pandemic was killing humanity, they said that the native peoples were going to disappear because in the city people were dying everyday, but there was not a single death from Covid-19 here. We have survived with herbs, why would we get vaccinated,” Yumbatos said.
Some 400 Kandozi Indians live in San Fernando and according to the chief of the village, Abilio Karihuazairo Tapayuri, many are afraid of the vaccine due to the lack of information around it.
“We have our own medicines and we know how to cure ourselves. Most of them are afraid of vaccines, they don’t want to and don’t understand it,” he said.
LACK OF INFORMATION
Since the vaccination campaign for Peru’s indigenous communities kicked off in June, only some 9,900 of people in Loreto have received the full course of the vaccine.
This represents 9% of the region’s indigenous population, where some 110,000 native Amazonians live, according to regional health director of Loreto, Dr. Carlos Calampa.
Calampa added that the low vaccination rate was not entirely due to the remoteness of the area and cultural beliefs, but most importantly because of the country’s poor intercultural health system and historical abandonment of the indigenous community that excludes this group from society.