CHIEF Chanje of the Chewa-speaking people says some of his subjects are reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccination due to misunderstandings and myths about the vaccine in rural areas.

In an interview, Chief Chanje said local leaders were conducting sensitisation programmes in order to encourage people to get vaccinated while telling them that government cannot introduce a vaccine to kill people.

“At first here in Chanje, when COVID-19 started, my subjects took it as a new thing and this affected a lot of activities in terms of development within the chiefdom. People also received COVID-19 with a lot of fear. But as it is now, people are a bit familiar with the pandemic and they are following the precautions. Each and everyone knows that when you are going for a meeting, they need to have a facemask and wash their hands frequently. At least things have now improved. The impact is also there in terms of businesses which have gone down,” said Chief Chanje.

“Additionally, I do have sensitisation meetings in different areas. We have meetings with village headmen and people have responded and they got vaccinated. As we have some funerals in different villages, we normally talk about it with our subjects and that people must be vaccinated and be protected. So some people have taken that message of being vaccinated. However, some people due to misunderstandings have not been vaccinated up to now since there are different myths. But we are encouraging them that this involves your health and the government cannot bring medicine to kill you. Each one must know that the government wants to protect its people so that they are healthy. All village headmen and indunas have been vaccinated so that people are encouraged. In my chiefdom we have buried atleast two to three people who had COVID-19.”