HomeCovid Myth BustersCombating myths about the Covid-19 Vaccine among Oaxacan Indigenous Communities

Combating myths about the Covid-19 Vaccine among Oaxacan Indigenous Communities

By Nora Estrada, Impulso

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Los Angeles.- Almost 14 months after the first vaccine against Covid-19 was approved and with more than 83 percent of the eligible population over the age of five vaccinated with at least one dose in California, opinions and myths prevent the rest of the population from inoculating themselves despite the efforts of the authorities.

California is one of the most diverse states that welcomes immigrants of various techniques in the world, especially the indigenous Mexicans of Oaxaca, Chiapas or Guerrero and Guatemalans.

Precisely these subgroups of Latinos have been the most difficult to convince to protect the virus with any of the vaccines approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because they have their customs and traditions rooted, such as resorting to home remedies.

For the Oaxacan community’s pro-vaccine activist, Isaí Pazos, these groups have lagged behind because they were not offered timely information in their language such as Zapotec, Mixtec, K’iche, the second most spoken language in Guatemala after Spanish.

Pro-vaccine activist Isaí Pazos (right), at one of the vaccination centers.

“We have heard everything about myths, especially in the indigenous community that believe those who tell the comadre or friends, that they will be infertile if they are vaccinated against Covid, or that they will be shortened to life, or that at six months they will be zombies, or simply, they are afraid of being deported if they go to a vaccination center.

“More than anything the Guatemalan community that does not go out much less to mass events, believe in these myths for lack of communication or lack of education about what Covid 19 is or what the vaccine is,” he said.

Pazos said that fortunately that ends little by little because organizations such as Indigenous Communities in Leadership, better known as CIELO, bring the right message and with translators in their languages to their communities.

“The advantage is that we bring them an interpreter,” Pazos added.

Some others have different opinions such as the publicist, the Oaxacan Martha Ugarte, who assures that the vaccine against Covid-19 also has negative consequences and that politicians, activists and pro-vaccine organizations ignore because they are forced to “return” economic favors.

In addition, Ugarte added that inoculation against the virus should be by decision and not by mandate.

Martha Ugarte

The communicator and publicist, who has not been vaccinated against Covid 19, said that she has been infected twice with Covid 19, but that she has recovered by taking chlorine dioxide.

“I am wary of vaccines because they also cause negative effects, which no one reports. Why don’t they tell us what the negative consequences are. A 76-year-old friend almost died when the third dose was given, suffered from paralysis (Guillain Barré), could not walk for four months, and that is attributed to vaccines.

“I haven’t been vaccinated, but I respect those who have. In my family, one of my children has already been vaccinated, the other has not, nor my husband. Personally I have not been vaccinated and it has already given me Covid several times, but it gives me more and more weakened, and I have my immune defenses stronger and stronger, “he said.
In addition, he said, there are many doubts about the true effectiveness of the Covid vaccine because they were approved in a few months and because more doses are being applied than initially considered.

“They are with both doses, that is not science,” he said. “Why don’t they say what the risks of vaccines are? Let them say the positive and the negative of vaccines, the pros and cons,” he added. “I think the vaccine weakens me, I don’t think it boosts the immune system.”

He even added that he knows that some doctors have avoided getting vaccinated.
“And not only that, they also don’t want to vaccinate their children. How do they ask you to get vaccinated? Any synthetic chemical you get into the brain is going to affect you somewhere else. Currently the powerful are the medical laboratories and the politicians are puppets of them,” Ugarte said.

Dr. Ilan Shapiro, medical director of Health Education and Wellness at a federally qualified health clinic at AltaMed, said everything in life, even water, can lead to problems.
“It is said, which has not been proven, that the vaccine causes infertility, and already more than a year after the vaccine began to be applied, we have not known of a case,” he said. “All we’ve seen is that the vaccine has worked very well, women got vaccinated and got pregnant. The American Academy of Gynecology and Obstetrics approves the vaccine.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 216 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, and more than 95 percent with the booster.
“What is very true is that pregnant women who do not have the vaccine and get sick are much more likely, unfortunately, to die themselves and their baby to die,” Shapiro added. “We already know that the vaccine is the best thing against Covid-19.”

He said there is also talk that the vaccine causes inflammation of the heart.

“The reality is that yes, there is a small chance that that could happen, but if you get Covid-19 that at the moment the possibility is higher, it is worse. And about Guillain Barré syndrome, there have been no cases at this time related to the Covid 19 vaccine.”
Ugarte said his opinion on the vaccine supports it because he knows how laboratories are governed because he worked for several years in one of them.

“For me the vaccine thing is a political evil because they (the laboratories) give (money) to the politicians for their campaigns and now those politicians are returning the favor by choosing them as suppliers of the vaccines, that’s how they make money.”

For the activist Pazos, who supports the community in difficult times with the organization CIELO, he said that the opinion of many people who think that organizations like the one in which he works try to give “cat for free” for economic reasons is respected.

“We have values and our mission is to help the community, and we work for the good of others with transparency. Nobody gives money for anything, they work and very hard for the common good,” he said.

Pazos is dedicated to promoting inoculation in vaccination centers, delivering pantries and distributing rapid test kits and even checks to people who lose their jobs.

“And I repeat, everything with transparency, especially in this country that there are many requirements and accountability for everything,” said the Oaxacan leader. “And people who think that the government is promoting the vaccine for political reasons, you have to respect them,” he said.

San Jose resident immigration activist Jose Sandoval also said he is one hundred percent sure that Clo2 chlorine dioxide helps strengthen the immune system and blocks the Covid 19 virus, among other diseases.

“I haven’t been vaccinated, nor am I going to get vaccinated because it does wrong what they’re putting in. There are cured people who resorted to chlorine dioxide, and many who are already vaccinated or who resorted to pharmaceutical medicine become ill.

For Dr. Shapiro “at this point of vaccination it is no longer worth doubting and promoting myths. The vaccine has proven its effectiveness and on the other hand we see that they are going to give to the hospital and some even die because they resort to other things thinking that they will save their lives and it happens the opposite.

“Unfortunately, chlorine dioxide and ivermectin and other drugs have not worked against Covid-19,” the doctor said.

The FDA warns about chlorine dioxide products being sold online as medical treatments, as the agency is not aware of any scientific evidence to support their safety or efficacy, and they pose considerable risks to patients’ health.

For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) and authorities in several countries have issued alerts to the population to avoid the consumption of the substance.

About ivermectin is intended for the use of animals to prevent parasites. It is a drug approved by the U.S. government. In the case of humans, it is approved in specific doses to treat worms and parasites, in addition to some skin solutions that kill lice and conditions such as rosacea.

But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized the use of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 and they say that taking large doses is dangerous for humans.
The FDA’s role is to carefully evaluate the scientific data of a drug to make sure it is safe and effective for a given use.

“We know specifically that chlorine dioxide causes more bad things and has no advantage against Covid 19,” Shapiro added.

The doctor was clear in arguing that an unvaccinated person is 40 times more likely to end up in the hospital and even die.

“All the things that we were scared of at the beginning of the pandemic, that we didn’t know much about this, maybe we could justify this conversation about myths, but it’s not time for this anymore, we already have a lot of information and we’re saving lives with the vaccine,” he said.

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