With only 25,468 (5.22 percent) transgender persons vaccinated against COVID-19 in India, activists said that misinformation, lack of documents, and digital divide have added to their problems in getting inoculated. As per the 2011 census, there are 4.87 lakh people belonging to the transgender community in the country.
The CoWIN portal reflected that a total of 8,80,47,053 men and 7,67,64,479 women have been vaccinated. Meanwhile, just 25,468 people in the 'other' category have been inoculated.
According to activists, misinformation, lack of digital knowledge, and proper government documents are the main reasons behind hesitancy in the community members in getting vaccinated.
Transgender activist Pushpa Mai, based in Jaipur, said a lot of community members approached her with queries related to inoculation.
Mai said that they were misguided and were told that taking vaccination will make their health worse. She further said that they have explained to them that getting vaccinated can protect them from this deadly disease, and they should book a slot for getting vaccinated as soon as possible.
Shahana, who works as an office assistant, said she had many reservations about the vaccine earlier, but the activists dispelled her fears.
Dr Vandana Prasad, a public health professional, shared that there are no contraindications that people who are HIV positive or have recently undergone surgery can't get vaccinated, reported The New Indian Express.
Another major problem is that some people from the community are eager to get vaccinated, but they do not have the necessary documents.
Samina (name changed), who earns her livelihood by begging at traffic signals, does have an Aadhaar card. However, she does not own a smartphone, and she is hesitant to go for walk-in vaccination, fearing discrimination.
The Centre had recently asked states to ensure that there was no discrimination against transgender persons at COVID-19 vaccination centres.
The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has also urged the states to conduct awareness drives, especially to reach out to members of the transgender community.