Peru vaccine against coronavirus in the mythical lake of Incas

A handful of Peruvian nurses boarded a section of the world’s highest navigable lake on Wednesday in search of neighbors living on remote islands to vaccinate them against the virus.

“I have had a little fear for the pain,” Pedro Porcela, a 43-year-old Peruvian who lives on Corazón Valiente island, one of the more than fifty that exist within Lake Titicaca, shared by Peru, told The Associated Press. and Bolivia in the Andes.

Porcela took off a straw hat and added that above all she was afraid that due to the pain of the vaccine in her arm she would not be able to catch native fish or upholster, with a lake plant called totora, the floors that they place every month in the floating island where he lives.

The nurses gave him his first vaccination and so did his wife Elvira Jilapa, 43. Both are part of an ancient and ancient people like the Inca civilization, called Uros, who speak Aymara, an official Peruvian language that is also used in Bolivia. Titicaca is also considered a mythical lake of the Incas and the place where the founders of the empire came from.

Since July, the five health workers at the only health post inside the lake have vaccinated their neighbors and despite their efforts, vaccination against the virus is progressing slowly. Of the 1,200 inhabitants over 18 years of age who live on the islands, only half have been vaccinated so far.

Holding a loudspeaker, the obstetrician Deysi Barriga announced the arrival of the vaccination boat to the islands, while the technician Sebastián Quispe directed the small motorized ship where they carried an ice-lined container with vaccines from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

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“We go house to house because sometimes they can’t come and there is a bit of desertion in what is the second dose, that’s why we go to meet each family,” said nurse María Inés Quispe, who is in charge of injecting the vaccines to the neighbors of the lake.

In some of the small islands, the inhabitants did not leave their homes, affirming with a loud voice from their doors that the vaccine was very painful and that they were not going to receive it because it did not allow them to carry out rural work.

Although Peru has vaccinated more than half of its population of 32 million inhabitants against the virus, the Puno region, located in the southeast and where Lake Titicaca is located, is one of the least vaccinated nationwide.

Peru adds more than 200,000 deaths from the virus and more than 2 million infected, according to official figures.

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