The pandemic has put the transgender community, across the country, in a precariat state. Lack of documentation, digital divide, and widespread misinformation has reportedly averted the community from inoculation amid the pandemic.
In an attempt to provide support to the community members in Maharashtra, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) organised a special vaccination camp at the COVID-19 vaccination centre on Saturday, June 19. The authorities conducted the drive despite many not possessing proper documents for registration.
Bhawana, one of the beneficiaries, in a report by Hindustan Times thanked TMC for organising the camp. She mentioned that it has been difficult for them to get vaccinated since many do not have Aadhar cards.
Kamini, another member of the community said, "They not only helped us with vaccination but also in our documentation, They provided us with forms for getting our basic documents prepared. I would urge all the people to not fear vaccination and step forward to get vaccinated because it would save their lives."
Dr Aayaz Sheikh, a medical officer at the centre, said that they have been eager to reach out to the selected population who are unable to get vaccinated due to lack of documentation, and financial concerns.
A camp for the differently-abled was also organised by TMC on Friday, June 18. Sheikh credited this move to the Mayor and the Municipal Commissioner.
However, on being asked about the low turnout in the camp (20-25 out of 100 transgender persons), the doctor stated that there is hesitancy due to possible side effects but they have also deployed a team that is counselling people. He added that the beneficiaries are being counselled and doubts clarified even after the vaccination process is over.
"A special Nodal Officer has been appointed to coordinate with the community and if they don't have their proper address or identity proof even then they will be considered for vaccination through this Nodal Officer under special category," Dr Sukesh Thakur, one of the doctors at the center told Hindustan Times.
Transgender Community Amid COVID
As per data available on May 30, 2021, The Indian Express reported that only 5.22 per cent or 25,468 transgender persons have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country, while a census of 2011 recorded the presence of at least 4.87 lakh people belonging to the community in India.
"They were misguided. They were told that taking vaccination will make their health worse. We have explained to them that getting vaccinated can protect them from this deadly disease and they should get vaccinated as soon as possible," Jaipur-based transgender activist Pushpa Mai, told The Indian Express.
The publication reported that others in the community who are eager to get vaccinated either do not have the required documents or face discrimination.
Assam Leads By Example
On May 14, 2021, Assam started special camps to vaccinate the transgender community, becoming the first state in the country. Several states including Odisha have organsied similar inclusive vaccination drives.
Active awareness and support by activists and government authorities are required to assist the community in protecting them against the deadly virus.