Guwahati: As people in the country are getting their COVID vaccinations, thirty members of the transgender community got their first COVID vaccination dose in Guwahati on Friday. It was the first such step reported in the entire country.
Sources said that the vaccination drive has been carried out at a shelter home for transgender in the city, which was conducted with the support from state's health department.
After taking the first dose of vaccination, founder of the All Assam Transgender Association and associate vice-chairperson of the Assam government's transgender welfare board, Swati Bidhan Baruah said that the main source of income for most transgender people is begging. Since they come into contact with other people, they are very vulnerable to getting infected.
"As a marginalized group, they were getting left out of the vaccination process and when we requested the health department, we got a very positive response. They helped with the logistics and we were able to start the vaccination drive without any glitch," Baruah added.
It is to be mentioned that the drive at this moment is restricted in Guwahati but is likely to be extended across the state depending on the availability of the vaccine. There are an estimated 20,000 members of the transgender community in Assam.
The State Health Department says that it will consider its COVID-19 vaccination drive success if it can inoculate 1.78 crore target people – around 70 lakh 45+ and around 1.08 crore 18+. However, the department needs time to achieve this target. The vaccination target of the State is in sync with the guidelines issued by the Government of India and the State's population size. A few people may still be left out as the vaccination target is based on the 2011 census figure.
According to sources in the department, it's a time-taking exercise as it has to carry out the vaccination drive based on the supply of vaccines from the Centre.
In Assam, the total number of doses administered till Saturday is 33,62,471; the total number of the first dose is 26,31,608; and the second dose is 7,30,863. The total number of vaccinated people is 56,185.
Meanwhile, Assam has recorded a total number of 5347 people tested positive for COVID-19 with 63 deaths and the recovery rate is 85.39% as of May 15, Saturday.