Vaccinating Asia: India's greatest challenge lies in vaccinating rural villages

A woman taking her mother home from the Guddahatti health centre in Karnataka, India, after the older woman’s first vaccine dose. ST PHOTO: ROHINI MOHAN
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

KARNATAKA/RAJASTHAN - As Mr Shankarappa D, 61, helped his mother through the corridor of a primary health centre (PHC) in Guddahatti village in the South Indian state of Karnataka, the 80-year-old held her walking stick so tightly her knuckles went pale.

"She's scared the injection will hurt," Mr Shankarappa told the nurse in Kannada. Throughout the 30 seconds it took for her to get the Covid-19 vaccine, his mother Goyamma chanted: "Aiyayyo, aiyayyo," in anticipation of the pain.

Already a subscriber? 

Dive deeper at $0.99/month

Want more exclusives, sharp insights into what's happening at home and abroad? Subscribe to stay informed.

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • 2-week e-paper archive so you never miss out on any topic that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.