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Bengaluru: Vaccination drive for vulnerable population, priority groups gathers steam

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has appointed nodal officers to identify eligible beneficiaries in each category, such as the disabled, those living in old age homes, construction workers, and auto and cab drivers.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 28, 2021 7:10:47 pm

The Covid-19 vaccination drive for frontline workers and priority groups identified by the government is picking up pace in Bengaluru. From earlier this week, over 40,000 people from across 25 categories were inoculated in the city, officials claimed.

As per numbers shared by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which is in charge of the vaccination drive in the city, as many as 40,040 beneficiaries from across categories were inoculated till May 26. This included 1848 people (with one caretaker each in most instances) who are differently-abled, 4492 street vendors, 3265 autorickshaw and cab drivers, 8248 electricity and water suppliers, and 5831 security and housekeeping staff from government offices among others.

Further, the BBMP has appointed nodal officers to identify and ensure vaccine availability to eligible beneficiaries in each category.

Dr Vaishnavi K, who is in charge of identifying the differently abled, those living in destitution, and old-age homes, among others, told indianexpress.com that she is in contact with numerous government and non-governmental organisations to streamline the process.

“Initially we began collecting information from the Departments of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare. Data was then collated and fed via Google forms and validated, after which indents were placed accordingly to the central team,” she explained. Beneficiaries were then informed at least a day in advance via officers at the zonal level.

Vaccination drive at a home for the destitute. (Image credit: Special Arrangement)

“The focus now is on institutionalised groups as it is easier for us to gather them at one place. Mostly, our teams visit them at their own locations across the city. While our resources are stretched to the maximum, we are also collaborating with NGOs to help us on the logistics front,” Dr Vaishnavi said.

Officials say the teams were able to inoculate as many as 2,000 differently abled people along with their caretakers on Wednesday alone.

In case of the destitute or people in old-age homes, officials say, NGOs were the primary points of contact to implement the entire process. “These homes have always been in touch with one or more NGOs working in the sector, which helps in faster identification of beneficiaries,” Dr Vaishnavi added.

During the vaccination drive for differently abled people. (Image credit: Special Arrangement)

Meanwhile, for street vendors, the BBMP is validating data based on the ID cards issued to them by the Urban Development Department (UDD).

Data for construction workers is being collected from the labour department and the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI). Vaccination drives are being organised at labour camps across the city. In the initial phase, over 3,000 such workers, including migrant labourers, have been listed by the BBMP.

The civic body is now planning to inoculate staff at banks next.

Vaccination at nearly 70 locations for auto, cab drivers

A separate list is also being prepared by officials for “meticulous allocation” of vaccines for the drivers – both in organised and unorganised sector – in the city.

Mahadev M, who is the nodal officer in charge of vaccinating auto and cab drivers, government transport staff, and staff involved in electricity and water supply in the city, said that 8 to 10 ten spots are set in each of the eight BBMP zones for the vaccination drive.

“We are also earmarking a particular day of the week (Friday to begin with) to offer vaccination to frontline workers per category. BBMP officials were coordinating with associations and individuals as per each category at a zonal level to prepare a list of beneficiaries,” he explained.

“They will be allowed to walk in to their nearest identified vaccine centre on the decided date, where our officers will help them with the registration process,” the nodal officer added.

According to the officials, Bengaluru has an estimated 25,000 drivers, of which 5,000 will be covered in the first phase. “A huge number of drivers went back to their hometowns in other cities and states much ahead of the lockdown. We are trying to cover those who are already in the city first. The drive will continue for others in the same manner until the last person is vaccinated,” Mahadev said.

However, he denied claims made by some drivers that they were asked to approach their MLAs to make it to the lists in their respective areas for vaccination.

Specifying about coverage of KSRTC, BMTC, BWSSB, and BESCOM staff, the nodal officer said that nearly 70 per cent of them are already vaccinated. “We are beginning with the drive-in in Bengaluru and then extending it to other districts,” he said.

 

(Numbers updated as shared by BBMP officials on May 28)

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