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PMC begins drive to register transgender persons for Covid-19 vaccination

Bindumadhav Khire, founder of Samapathik Trust, said he had started reaching out to transgenders to understand their willingness to be vaccinated.

Written by Partha Sarathi Biswas | Pune |
May 20, 2021 9:37:48 pm
People wait inside a Covid-19 vaccination centre to get their jabs. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

In a joint effort by the social justice department and the PMC, a preliminary drive has begun to register transgender persons willing to get the Covid-19 vaccination.

Bindumadhav Khire, founder of Samapathik Trust, said he had started reaching out to transgenders to understand their willingness to be vaccinated.

Khire said the pandemic had had an adverse impact on the transgender community, as most earned a livelihood through either sex work or begging, and lockdown and restrictions made this difficult. Charitable institutions and individuals had come forward to provide help, while the state government had also announced financial help, Khire said, adding that work to create a database of transgender individuals was on, which will help transfer financial aid to them.

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Khire also said transgenders had, so far, been excluded from the vaccination drive and most individuals would be hesitant about approaching vaccination centres. The process of online registration through the CoWIN would also present challenges, Khire added.

“Vaccinations is the last thing on the mind of transgender individuals, they are more concerned about ration as all their means of earning a living are now stopped,” he said.

During a recent meeting with the social justice department, the assistant commissioner talked about creating a database of transgender persons willing to get the vaccine, he added.

“We have reached out to leaders from the transgender community and asked them to provide us with details,” Khire said, adding that individuals wishing to get the vaccine were instructed to provide name, age, phone number, Aadhaar number and area of residence. Once the database was ready, the next course of action would be taken, he said.

Khire also said the process, however, would be far from simple given the hesitation about the vaccine. Rumours about side effects had put fear in many, he added.

He, however, said the community had its guru-chela hierarchy. “If gurus agree for vaccination, then followers would be ready,” he said.

Khire also said Pune had close to 400 to 500 transgenders with most being concentrated at Dhamdhere Gali area of Budhwar Peth. At present, there was a timeline of seven days for people to express willingness for the vaccination, he added.

“Once we get an idea about the number of people who wish to be vaccinated, we shall take the matter forward,” he said.

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