According to Dr Yercin Mamani, former director of the departmental health service in Cochabamba, vaccine access is no longer the main problem. Instead, for various reasons, people are refusing vaccination. Mamani identified three groups. “First, the self-described anti-vaxxers,” said Mamani. “This is a very small group. Even in their biggest protests, they’ve never cleared 100 people.”
The second group refuse the vaccine for religious reasons. “Roughly 30% of the population is evangelical. Of this group, two-thirds have not accepted vaccination. In many places – especially in rural settings, where these churches are a little more radical – they’ve even come to demonise it.”
The third group is less clearly defined, but Mamani described it as mostly rural, with a low level of education – and susceptible to misinformation about vaccines.