Dozens of communities in a Chiapas municipality have officially said “thanks but no thanks” to Covid-19 vaccinations, following a stance already taken by residents of 24 other municipalities.
“Only two people voluntarily wanted to get the vaccine,” said San Juan Cancuc Mayor José López López in a letter he wrote on Monday to Ministry of Health officials in San Cristóbal de las Casas, explaining that 45 communities in his municipality had voted to disallow any vaccination campaigns in their villages, including shots for the elderly.
In the letter, López explained that the local government held a meeting with community leaders representing the 45 villages to inform them about the upcoming campaign to vaccinate, as well as the benefits and possible side effects of the vaccine. The leaders agreed to go back to their villages and share the information with residents.
However, in all 45 communities, residents “stood firm in their decision not to allow vaccination.”
The decision also affected health clinics in the 45 communities and the medical personnel who work there: administrators in local clinics drew up resolutions stating that Covid-19 vaccination campaigns would not be allowed there. Despite the fact that Chiapas has already received 15,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, more than 40 health officials and medical personnel in San Juan Cancuc remain unvaccinated.
Rejection of the vaccine has taken place in nearly 100 communities throughout the state, according to a report by the Chiapas rural development office.
Ninety-nine villages in 25 municipalities have refused to allow the installation of vaccination sites, it said. These include communities in San Cristóbal, Comitán and Ocosingo, and in the Tonalá and Bochil regions.
Like those in San Juan Cancuc, residents in communities within the municipalities of Chamula, San Cristóbal de las Casas and Tenejapa have voted against permitting vaccination campaigns. In Ocosingo, local teachers have been expressing doubts about the vaccine.
Furthermore, residents in seven Chiapas communities refused to allow the installation of Covid-19 checkpoints, known as filtros sanitarios, throughout the pandemic. In the community of Chenalhó, residents resisted sanitization efforts by local government, the report said.
“In the region of San Cristóbal, sociopolitical conflicts have been detected. There is a lack of confidence in the vaccine [and] the community does not allow measures related to Covid-19 [prevention].”