- Title: 'Are you insane?' Some Gazans shun COVID-19 vaccination
- Date: 18th March 2021
- Summary: AL-NUSEIRAT REFUGEE CAMP, GAZA (MARCH 17, 2021) (REUTERS) PAINTED WALL IN THE CAMP HONORING HEALTH WORKERS/MEN RIDDING CAMELS RIDE BY THE PAINTED WALLS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 57 YEAR OLD REFUGEE CAMP RESIDENT, AHMAD NASR, SAYING: "I reject the vaccine because due to social media posts, the vaccine can cause blood clots, and can negatively and dangerously affect the human being, moreover, the borders are closed, and therefore this will not be treated, therefore, I recommend to anyone who might be subjected to corona, not to take the vaccine, because it can have a physiological change in the human body." GAZA CITY, GAZA (MARCH 17, 2021) (REUTERS) MAJDI THUHAIR, OFFICIAL FROM THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH IN GAZA (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) OFFICIAL FROM THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH IN GAZA, MAJDI THUHAIR, SAYING: "We suffer from lack of signing up for vaccination on the official portal, where the number reached 26000 people, which is a small number unfortunately, we wish that more people would sign up, especially those who are above the age of 18 has the right to get the vaccine, and accordingly everyone will get vaccinated, according to the availability of the vaccine according to the health ministry recommendations." MAJDI THUHAIR, OFFICIAL FROM THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH IN GAZA (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) OFFICIAL FROM THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH IN GAZA, MAJDI THUHAIR, SAYING: "What is being spread on social media passed around about dangerous side effects of the vaccine, it can have a negative effect, I completely deny this as inefficient and irresponsible" SHAJAIYA, GAZA (MARCH 17, 2021) (REUTERS) PLAQUE ON WALL FOR HEALTH MINISTRY CLINIC WOMEN AND SON WALK INTO CLINIC PEOPLE SITTING AND WAITING TO GET THE VACCINE SHOT OLD MAN WAITING IN CLINIC WOMEN HOLDING CARD FOR VACCINATED PEOPLE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 28 YEAR OLD LAWYER, LINA ALTURK, SAYING: "Some people told me, are you insane? for going to take the vaccine, Wait until you see whether it is good or bad. But of course since vaccine is widespread around the world, and a lot of people have taken the vaccine, although small in number, but psychologically one feels safer, especially after the new variant arrived to Gaza, now one feels safer since I took the vaccine." PEOPLE SITTING WAITING IN THE VACCINATION CENTRE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 71 YEAR OLD GAZA RESIDENT, FADE AL-JARU, SAYING: "The vaccine is simple, it does not have any problem, it is not painful, and on the contrary, it is best for every person to take it, whether old or young, but it is preferable that the elder people take it." HEALTH WORKERS PREPARING VACCINE FADEL AL-JARU RECEIVING THE VACCINE AL-NUSEIRAT REFUGEE CAMP, GAZA (MARCH 17, 2021) (REUTERS) (MUTE) DRONE FOOTAGE OF A PAINTED WALL IN THE CAMP OF TWO YOUNG PEOPLE PULLING AN OLD LADY AWAY FROM A SPECK OF RED VIRUS THAT IS PULLING HER, ARABIC LANGUAGE WRITING 'Hand in hand we can protect our elders.' DRONE FOOTAGE OF THE CAMP
- Embargoed: 1st April 2021 09:56
- Keywords: COVID 19 Gaza health ministry refugee camp vaccination vaccine
- Location: AL-NUSEIRAT REFUGEE CAMP AND GAZA CITY AND SHAJAIYA, GAZA
- City: AL-NUSEIRAT REFUGEE CAMP AND GAZA CITY AND SHAJAIYA, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Health/Medicine,Middle East
- Reuters ID: LVA001E4M0EO7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Waiting for her COVID-19 vaccination in a Gaza clinic, Leena Al-Tourk, a 28-year-old Palestinian lawyer, recalled the social pressure she faced in the conservative enclave for getting the shot.
"Some people told me, are you insane? Wait until you see whether it is good or bad," she said.
Just 8,500 people have turned out to be vaccinated in Gaza according to an official, even though the enclave of two million people has received around 83,300 vaccine doses since February donated by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the global COVAX programme.
Suspicion of the vaccines runs deep in Hamas Islamist-run Gaza, which has registered over 57,000 coronavirus infections and 572 deaths, and which recently relaxed lockdown restrictions.
People fear possible side-effects from the jabs and are sharing their misgivings widely on social media.
"We are targeting 150,000 people from category number 1: the elderly, medical personnel and patients with chronic and serious illnesses, who may develop serious symptoms if infected," said Majdi Dhair, deputy director of prime healthcare in Gaza.
"Only 26,000 people registered. This is a minimal number," he said, citing misinformation on social networks as part of the problem.
On a Gaza street, Ahmed Nasser, 57, leaned against a pro-vaccination mural, painted by youngsters, that depicts a "coronavirus" with jagged teeth trying to tug a woman away from two youths holding her hand.
"Protect yourself," a slogan next to the painting says. "Hand in hand we protect the elderly."
Nasser, a government employee, was unconvinced.
"Of course, I will not take the vaccine. They say on social media it can lead to blood clots," he said.
In contrast, 100,000 Palestinians have registered to get the vaccine in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where authorities have received 76,700 doses donated by Israel, Russia and COVAX.
Both the West Bank and Gaza lag far behind Israel in vaccinations, which has been a world leader in their rollout.
(Production: Arafat Barbakh, Mohammed Shana, Mohammed Salem, Nuha Sharaf)
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