The Ministry of Social Justice told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, August 3, that the government has no data on the number of transgender people above 45 years of age who have received their COVID vaccine shots.
The ministry informed the Lok Sabha that it has issued directions to all states and Union Territories to ensure that existing COVID vaccination centres are transgender-friendly and no discrimination is shown towards people from the community, who come to get their jabs.
It said they have also requested the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to take necessary steps in ensuring the vaccination of transgender persons. The Centre was responding to a query raised by DMK MP DM Kathir Anand regarding the measures taken by the government to provide vaccination against COVID for transgender persons.
Dr Aqsa Sheikh, the nodal officer for COVID Vaccination Centre, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, New Delhi, said that a lot of transgender persons have transitioned and have their desired gender in their document. Therefore, it is wrong to assume that only those who got vaccinated under the other category are transgender persons.
'Govt Played It Safe'
She pointed out that when collating the data, the government had to look not only into the 'others' column but also into the other two columns which also includes a large number of trans people. She added that the government played it safe by saying they don't have data.
Dr Sheikh said there are apprehensions and hesitation within the transgender community regarding vaccination and its side effects because a lot of trans individuals are on hormones or undergoing treatment for HIV or gender affirmation surgeries. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has not issued any FAQ or document to dispel their apprehensions or answer their queries.