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In Peru, Rumors Feed Vaccine Reluctance Among Indigenous

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A health worker gives a shot of the Sinopharm vaccine for COVID-19 to Yolanda Coila, during a vaccine campaign in Jochi San Francisco, Peru, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. While more than 55% of Peruvians have gotten at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccines, only about 25% of people in Indigenous areas have been vaccinated. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Fears and unfounded rumors about COVID-19 vaccines have spread among Peru’s Indigenous people, who are about a quarter of the country’s 33 million people. That’s complicated vaccination efforts in a country hit harder than nearly any other by the pandemic.

Only about 25% of people in Indigenous areas have been vaccinated. It’s not only misinformation, though. It’s difficult to get vaccines to remote regions where many Indigenous people live. Some clinics are so poorly funded they lack gasoline for vehicles. And some Indigenous representatives complain that the government has been slow to coordinate with communities.

 

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