AP PHOTOS: Vaccine workers trek in Kashmir’s snowy mountains

Jan 18, 2022, 10:13 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2022, 10:08 pm

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — In a Himalayan village in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, young health worker Masrat Farid packed her bag with vaccines on a frigid morning in January as strong winds swept snow through the air.

She is part of a team of health workers undertaking a door-to-door campaign in the region to deliver vaccine shots to teens and boosters to old people in remote mountain villages.

“We have to fight the infection. We have to keep going,” Farid said as she made her way through the knee-high snow in Gagangeer, a hamlet lying between forests.

Farid and her colleagues have vaccinated thousands in the last year, mostly in villages that they reach by trekking long distances across rugged countryside.

But bone-chilling cold and snowy inhospitable terrain are not their only obstacles.

Some residents are still vaccine-hesitant and winning their trust is more difficult than braving the Himalayan winter.

“Most young girls are hesitant, fueled by misinformation and mistrust,” Farid said during a recent vaccination drive in a snow-covered mountain village. She was referring to the false belief that the vaccine impacts or even prevents pregnancy.

“We are not only inoculating them against the coronavirus, we must also educate them about the vaccines to earn their trust,” she said.

In a new phase that began this month, the health workers are inoculating teens in the age group of 15 to 18 and giving booster shots to people above age 60 with health problems.

The boosters, which Indian health officials call a “precautionary” shot, are being given to high-risk groups who were among the first to receive vaccines last year and whose immunity may be waning.

Jaffar Ali, a health official, said the top challenge so far this year has been harsh weather — unlike last year when some of his colleagues were harassed by locals during the vaccination campaign, as many residents thought the shots caused impotence, serious side effects or could even kill.

So far, health workers have fully vaccinated over 72% of eligible people out of the region’s 14 million population, according to official data.

Health officials recently hiked to some villages which were cut off from the nearest towns due to heavy snowfall and vaccinated residents there — including Khag, a forested village where the residents are mostly tribal and live in houses made from mud, stone or wood.

Arsha Begum, an elderly blind woman, expressed her gratitude as a medical team visited her home and gave her a booster shot inside her house.

“It would not have been possible for me to go to a hospital in this harsh weather. I am immensely thankful to them,” she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

World Bank agrees $500m to help Egypt fund wheat purchases

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt will receive a $500 million loan from the World Bank to help finance its wheat purchases as prices skyrocket because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Bank said Wednesday. The funds, approved Tuesday by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors, aim at supporting Egypt’s efforts to provide subsidized bread […]
6 hours ago
FILE - People walk past a currency exchange office screen displaying the exchange rates of U.S. Dol...
Associated Press

Strong ruble could hurt Russian businesses, official warns

MOSCOW (AP) — As the ruble strengthens to levels not seen in seven years, Russia’s minister of economic development warned Wednesday that the country’s businesses could suffer if the trend persists. The ruble hit all-time lows in the first weeks after Russia sent troops into Ukraine in late February, dropping as much as 50%, to […]
6 hours ago
FILE Cancer Campaigner Deborah James, left and Steve Bland pose for a photo with the award for Best...
Associated Press

Deborah James, UK cancer research campaigner, dies at 40

LONDON (AP) — Deborah James, a British broadcaster who raised millions for cancer research and was recognized by Prince William for her work, has died. She was 40. James hosted a BBC podcast called “You, Me and The Big C” in which she spoke in a no-nonsense approach about living with bowel cancer. Her candid […]
6 hours ago
FILE - A truck drives past cases of beer at the Budejovicky Budvar brewery in Ceske Budejovice, Cze...
Associated Press

Czech brewer Budvar again increases net profit amid pandemic

PRAGUE (AP) — Budvar, the Czech brewer that has been in a long legal dispute with U.S. beer giant Anheuser-Busch over use of the Budweiser brand, increased its net profit by some 10% for the second straight year as it saw record output and exports despite the coronavirus pandemic. Budejovicky Budvar NP, a 126-year-old state-owned […]
6 hours ago
FILE - John Wood, committee investigative staff counsel, for the House select committee investigati...
Associated Press

Lawyer who left Jan. 6 panel seeking Missouri US Senate seat

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An attorney who held key roles in the George W. Bush administration and who left his post last week as a senior investigator for the U.S. House committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection said Wednesday he is running for a Missouri U.S. Senate seat as an independent. John F. Wood announced […]
6 hours ago
FILE - John Wood, committee investigative staff counsel, for the House select committee investigati...
Sponsored Content by

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An attorney who held key roles in the George W. Bush administration and who left his post last week as a senior investigator for the U.S. House committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection said Wednesday he is running for a Missouri U.S. Senate seat as an independent. John F. Wood announced […]

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
AP PHOTOS: Vaccine workers trek in Kashmir’s snowy mountains