Mumbai’s 1st COVID19 vaccination drive for transgender persons

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A transgender person receiving the vaccination shot during COVID19 vaccination drive organised by SL Raheja Hospital – Fortis Associate and GAURAV.

SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim – Fortis Associate along with GAURAV, a social welfare organisation, organised Mumbai’s first COVID19 vaccination drive for transgender persons and hijras.

This vaccination drive was part of the #VaccineForAll initiative by SL Raheja Hospital, to ensure easy access to vaccination for various marginalised and hard to reach communities. The hospital has taken a multi-pronged approach to ensure more and more people learn about vaccination and get the required defence against COVID19.

Under the initiative, over 70 transgender persons and hijras were vaccinated with the first dose of Covishield. The initiative was supported by Laxmi Narayan Tripathi & Zainab Javid Patel, Members-National Council For Transgender Persons.

The drive was preceded by a fortnight of virtual and physical outreach in different areas in Mumbai and Thane district to help them make an informed choice about getting vaccinated.

Vulnerable groups like these are often left out of the reach of social safety nets. While there have been very few vaccination drives for the transgender groups across states, in Mumbai this is the first!

Unique challenges

Speaking on the occasion Dr Kunal Punamiya, CEO SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim – Fortis Associate, shared, “The transgender community has faced unique challenges during the pandemic. We have been interacting with the transgender activists and they have informed us that no such vaccination programme has been hosted in Mumbai yet.

“We are happy that we have been able to reach out to them, and ensure that no community is left underserved. At SL Raheja Hospital, we believe equality and diversity are paramount for any community & nation to grow.

Access to healthcare is the right of every individual and we aim to reach out to the community at large to provide them with the required defence against COVID19. Vaccination against COVID19 is the first step towards overcoming this public health crisis.”

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Executive Board Member, GAURAV said, “Many trans members are immunocompromised and are at a greater risk of infection from the virus. We are extremely happy that SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim has initiated this drive, and have helped trans members get vaccinated in a smooth and hassle-free manner”.

“COVID19 does not discriminate basis one’s gender. Therefore, all individuals and communities must have equal access to vaccination and healthcare. With healthcare providers such as SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim taking progressive steps to reach out to vulnerable communities such as our trans members, we can definitely expect a more inclusive and healthy India in the future”, expressed Zainab Javid Patel, Diversity & Inclusion advocate and activist.

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