Anti-Vaccine Residents Attacked Nurses, Destroyed COVID Vaccine Doses in Rural Guatemala
Anti-vaccine residents have attacked nurses who went to a rural village in Guatemala, trying to administer COVID vaccine doses to its residents.
The residents had also abducted the nurses for seven days, with about 50 COVID vaccine doses destroyed, according to a BBC News report.
Around 500 residents had blocked a road and vandalized the team's car in the northern Alta Verapaz province, with 11 workers released after being held by the villagers.
Officials noted that online disinformation is causing resistance to the vaccines. Nurses had stated that they were "verbally and physically attacked" by the villagers.
The residents had also let out the tires of the vehicle the health workers were using and destroyed the cool boxes storing the COVID vaccines.
One nurse had recounted the incident and said they were very scared as they had never experienced something like that, adding that they were just doing their duty.
The nurse also said in a statement that they had explained numerous times that the vaccination is voluntary and they will not force anyone to get it.
Gabriel Sandoval, the director of the provincial health department, said that it was the first time that they had faced physical opposition from the villagers, according to a Fox 5 Vegas report.
Sandoval added that other communities have refused, but they usually draw up papers saying they went to vaccinate them and take responsibility for refusing it.
The director of the provincial health department said it was bound to happen with the false information spreading about the COVID vaccines.
He also noted that many people do not believe in illness, adding that there is a clash of cultures.
Guatemala COVID Vaccine Rollout
COVID vaccinations had started slow in the Latin American country, causing discontent over vaccines, pandemic management, and alleged corruption issues in the government, according to an Aljazeera report in May.
The problem at first was getting vaccines into the country. However, it changes to be a problem of getting the doses administered before they expire.
Guatemala had first lagged behind as some of its neighboring countries, such as Honduras and Nicaragua, made their way to deploying health workers for the vaccine.
In late February, Guatemala has received 658,000 total vaccine doses in five shipments, with the vaccines being 90 percent AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine.
In September, at least three shipments of COVID vaccine donated by Spain had arrived in the country.
Guatemalan Health Minister Francisco Coma and Spanish diplomat Ricardo Gonzales were working together with the arrival of the 307,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The first delivered shipment was in August with 201,600 doses, according to a La Prensa Latina report.
Gonzales said that an additional 151,200 will reach the Latin American country in the coming weeks.
The Spanish diplomat said that the donation of the vaccines is part of Spain's commitment to providing 7.5 million vaccines through the World Health Organization's COVAX program.
The program targets to distribute vaccine doses to countries that need it most.
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written by: Mary Webber
WATCH: Millions of Moderna vaccine doses leave Chicago for Guatemala - from WGN News
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!