68-year-old Tersia Teuf, or known as Mom Tersia, is a farmer. She has recently received her first dose of Covid-19 vaccination in Oebesi Village, Amarasi Timur Sub-district, during the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in East Nusa Tenggara. She was relieved and said, “It’s just an injection; why should we be afraid?”
Oebesi is a small village located about two hours drive from the provincial capital of East Nusa Tenggara. Generally, the community does not resist to any health services, yet it has long refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as there is fear because of misinformation and myths circulated among the community. Further, It was far for them to reach the health services for the vaccine. The community also perceives that vaccines are worth only for young people; while the elderly do not need to be vaccinated because of their late ages. Consequently, the elderly are reluctant to get vaccinated and prefer to go to the field to farm, until the vaccination team (comprise of GMIT and the Community Health Center Team supported by the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP)) visited them on June 2022.
Mom Tersia has headaches, coughs, and cold that last a long time; no different from other elderly, she also thought vaccines were unnecessary for them. Every day, she focused only to go to her field to tend to her secondary plants farm. One day, the village head said there was an interactive discussion about Covid-19 messages bolstered by local vaccination events organized by the GMIT and the Community Health Center Team before getting vaccinated. “I was interested in coming and joining them.”
“I spent the day with the vaccination teams in the community. That was the first time, I got information about Covid-19, the vaccine, the side effects after getting vaccinated, how to handle it, and that vaccines are very important for the elderly, especially for a vulnerable person.” said mom Tersia.
Excitedly, she added, “After getting vaccinated, I had a fever for two days. But, I was not surprised since the Community Health Center Team has already explained about the side effects of vaccines. I took the medicine that I got from health workers. Now, I am feeling better and I feel no more pain that I usually suffered.”