The Most Marginalized 2 Percent Of The 100 Crores!

Soumita Basu, #COVIDActionCollab

November 9, 2021

As India celebrates vaccinating 100 crore individuals, let’s talk of the #VaxNow initiative that is helping to vaccinate the most vulnerable people.


Get us to the finish line of completing a 90-bed hospital for Government of Karnataka

Swasti is setting up a 90 bed modular hospital within the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, which will function as part of the existing Institute. This facility will be used for care provision for COVID in the coming year and in future will provide care for people who come to this facility; it is right next to 2 other Govt. hospitals (NIMHANS and Sanjay Gandhi Trauma Centre)

India crossed a huge milestone of vaccinating 100 crore people on 21st October. All across the country there were celebrations at shielding more and more people from the deadly COVID-19 virus. This would have been an impossible task without strong collaborations between the government, civil society, private organizations, and even individuals. The importance of such collaborations was particularly instrumental in reaching the most marginalized people from the most vulnerable communities. Those implementing the large vaccination drive in India particularly emphasized importance on such collaboration. The District Health Officer (DHO) of Chikkaballapur particularly mentioned the partnership with #COVIDActionCollab (CAC), a collaborative of more than 330 partners that  has  been providing technical support to accelerate the state government’s vaccination drive and increase coverage, in his celebratory speech. 

The collaborative has vaccinated over 1.7 million people from different vulnerable communities through its #VaxNow initiative. This was done in a short period of 11 weeks. The goal is to ensure that no one is left behind, including the most vulnerable people, in our endeavor to resiliently Bounce Forward, fighting this pandemic.  

Unlike the current vaccination efforts in the country, the #VaxNow strategy solely focuses on the vulnerable communities who need the vaccines the most and are placed in hard-to-reach locations. This includes People with Disabilities (PwD), sex workers and their families, the transgender community, women, people living with HIV, the elderly, street vendors, and factory workers. These vulnerable communities may have very specific needs, challenges, logistics, social stigma, infrastructure, communication, as well as different kinds of vaccine hesitation and doubts. There is, therefore, a need to understand the people to be able to ensure the vaccine reaches them comfortably. For example, it has been observed that women in general have low vaccination rates as their health is not prioritized in the families, and also many women are not allowed in public spaces.

One of the #VaxNow’s strategies is to hold special camps for the specific communities. The team in the camp is prepared with the knowledge and empathy to address any concerns. Overall nearly 200 camps have been organized in total, including those for the general population. #VaxNow puts not just individuals but entire communities at the center. 

CAC has rolled out the #VaxNow initiative in 21 states, with 42 CAC partners focused on vulnerable populations. Of these states, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tripura, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Assam, are recognized as the 13 priority states based on vaccination rates, availability of vaccines, demand, and presence of large populations of vulnerable groups. CAC is working closely with the government to give technical support in 3 states – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Puducherry. It helps in initial planning, operationalizing, and analyzing the gaps and challenges to strategize around it, and with 5 other state and district governments to mobilize communities for vaccination. 

None of us can be safe until the people at the bottom of the socio-economic hierarchy are vaccinated and made resilient to #BounceForward. CAC is committed to reaching the vulnerable communities who are at higher risk of being affected by Covid-19 and/or living in hard-to-reach locations. Identifying the needs of the vulnerable groups, #VaxNow makes a significant contribution in India’s journey to vaccinate its 1.35 billion people.

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COVIDActionCollab is not merely an aggregation of partners, but is an aggregation of capacities, through which we have developed key high impact initiatives. We have drawn upon our one year’s experience at CAC and engagement with our large constituency of partners to put together a menu of initiatives for funders/investors to support which will save lives and livelihoods, and enable vulnerable communities to 'bounce forward’. Support these initiatives to build resilient communities