At least 70 members of the transgender community on Sunday got vaccinated in Mumbai as an inoculation drive was organised at SL Raheja Hospital in Mahim for this vulnerable group, which often finds itself excluded from the social safety net.
“Many trans members are immunocompromised and are at a greater risk of infection from the virus. We are extremely happy that a hospital has initiated such a drive, and have helped trans members get vaccinated in a hassle free manner," said Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender activist.
Doctor Amit at the SL Raheja Hospital, who supervised the drive, said, “The community is often neglected and does not generally fall in the government’s scheme of things… the idea behind the drive is to draw the attention of the government towards such vulnerable groups and provide them a safety net through vaccination."
The novel coronavirus does not discriminate on the basis of gender, and while many members of the community feel the need to get vaccinated, they are discouraged by the thought of receiving unfavourable treatment at the vaccine centres. Also, many of them still don’t have valid government identification cards to get vaccinated like a other citizens. For many, who got vaccinated through this drive, it meant more than a sense of safety that the vaccine provides against the COVID-19.
Expressing her happiness at receiving the jab, transgender beneficiary Pooja Sharma said, “It was my dream to get vaccinated. When I got a call about this drive, I was elated and felt I’m also human now. We have always been struggling for a fair treatment. We are not considered humans, but today I feel great even after being pricked."
Another beneficiary, Ganga said, “Yes, they have thought of the transgender and LGBT community, it’s a first initiative but I’m glad and hope more such organisation and people come forward to help us. It’s true that many are reluctant, but today after taking the jab, I feel I’ve contributed to this fight against coronavirus." In a message to others, Ganga said, “If you still haven’t got a jab, have patience it will come to you. Till that time, wear a mask, follow protocol and still you can do your bit.”
“Initially, I was hesitant that what will happen and how will I be treated but all went well and I didn’t feel anything," said Kushi.