New Delhi: As the government attempts to vaccinate the entire country by the end of this year by organising special vaccination camps, starting drive-ins and mass-scale vaccination, the specially-abled citizens find themselves struggling to find an appointment slot and thereafter an accessible vaccination centre.
However, better late than never. On May 27, the National Association for the Blind in Delhi's RK Puram area successfully started a Covid-19 vaccination programme for the specially-abled people of different age groups.
In a Facebook post, they said, "For many disabled people, accessing the Cowin website is not an easy task. Those willing to get vaccinated have posted complaints on social media about their struggle to book vaccination slots. Therefore, NAB Delhi with the support of Pranjal Patil, IAS Officer and District Magistrate decided to start the special vaccination drive for differently-abled people. We are grateful to Pranjal Patil (She is a blind IAS officer in India). We also thank the District Magistrate of New Delhi who supported us throughout the vaccination drive. Persons with disabilities waiting for vaccination can register with us. We'll call them and guide them to the next available vaccination spot."
Pranjal Patil, IAS, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, said, "This thought of shortage of vaccine was there in mind. From May 1, vaccination for 18+ started but obviously, resources were not there. Three weeks ago, a friend called me and casually asked me if there is a facility for a person with disability and I said no. This pummeled me and I felt something needed to be done. I started working on it. I went to see a site, and discussed the idea with some doctors. I am helping people with vaccination, in my personal capacity. I spoke to my District Immunization Officer to see the vaccination site. I was very keen on taking it to some local groups or organisations to strengthen our outreach. People with disabilities are not in concentrated pockets. They are scattered for which communication is very important, which is not that easy. I talked to some organisations for this programme in RK Puram since it was my sub-division before. I spoke to Mr Prashant Verma and asked if he could help us and he agreed. So though it is the National Association for Blinds, it is all-inclusive, and it's for all disabilities. Prashant has contacted different organisations working with different disabilities for the same."
On the first day of the drive on May 27, almost 100 people with disabilities were vaccinated. Unfortunately, the centre was closed on May 28 due to a shortage of vaccines but it is functional today.
Prashant Ranjan Verma, General Secretary, National Association for the Blind, said, "We are happy to facilitate vaccination of persons with disabilities at our premises in Sector 5, RK Puram. People with disabilities or having difficulties in the registry and getting the vaccine at the mainstream centres can reach out to us for help."