Until a week ago, Khaled Mirza (28 years old) completely rejected to receive the Corona vaccine. “They used to say that the vaccine is harmful.” The teams of Zhinda and Wadi organizations managed to influence Khaled’s family, and five members of that family received the first dose of the Corona vaccine last week.
Mirza who lives in Khanki camp for the IDPs in Dohuk Northern Province says, "Teams of the two organizations came to the camp. They spoke to us and shared very useful information with us. They made us understand the importance of receiving the vaccine for the sake of our safety and the safety of our families. We took the vaccine and it had no harm. We thank them."
The two organizations, which launched a campaign two months ago in Khanki camp for the displaced, aim to encourage the camp’s residents to receive the vaccine, and the campaign called “Our grandfather and grandmother survived the grip of ISIS, we do not want to lose them because of Corona.”
For this purpose, WADI,a Germany-based NGO, and Zhinda, a Duhok-based local NGO and partner of WADI, launched a campaign in Khanke camp through four girls working for Zhinda.
Iraqi ministry of health said 30% of targeted communities have been vaccinated as over 7.7 million Iraqis received Covid 19 while the world races to curb Omicron new variant popped up South Africa.
The Iraqi government guidance urges civil servants, teachers and students over 12 years to receive the Covid-19 vaccine or present a test every week, a measure aims at curbing the pandemic and boosting vaccination.
NGOs work hard to convince hundreds of thousands of IDPs to receive the vaccine amid reluctance boosted by rumors circulated in social media about side effects of the vaccine.
Aya Jalal, projects coordinator of Zhinda organization, told (KirkukNow), "We visit the camp daily, encouraging the IDPs to receive vaccinations in various ways, through dialogue and giving information, or hanging educational and awareness posters in the camp."
“Our goal is for the largest number of displaced people to receive the vaccine, and we feel we have achieved this goal,” she added.
According to a statistic conducted by the NGO, ahead of their campaign, "only 20% of the displaced had received the vaccine, but the percentage had risen until the end of last week to 40%," according to Aya as "every day, 30 people receive the vaccine."
Over 14,000 IDPs live in Khanke camp, total 2,705 families.
Mirza, one of the displaced people who received the vaccine after the launch of the campaign, told (KirkukNow), "The elderly people do not have strong immunity against the disease, and if they contract the virus, their chances of death are great. We receive the vaccine for our safety and their safety as well, and we were encouraged by Zhinda and Wadi teams.”
A member of Zhinda team reveals information about a pro-vaccination campaign
Hanan Khader Subhi, from the village of Tal al-Qasab in Shingal (Sinjar) district, has lived in Khanke camp for seven years, and now is a member of the Zhinda team.
“We move from one tent to another from early in the morning until evening. IDPs said the vaccine will either kill them and has many serious side effects, but after we talked to them and corrected their information, most of them decided to receive the vaccine.”
Indicative and awareness posters are spread throughout the camp urging people to take the vaccine and the camp administration provides facilities for the teams of the two organizations.
"We plan to continue this campaign and transfer it to four other camps," Jalal said.