I am disabled. I visited many vaccination centres before but they would be on the first on second floor and I could not climb up. When I heard Anubhuti has set up camp in this area, I knew it would be accessible and I was right. Here I am.

A person with disability, Vaidu (healer) NT-DNT community

While there is better availability, and also awareness within the community regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, there are certain extremely vulnerable groups for whom the vaccine is still not accessible. Persons with disability, single women and older persons (because they don’t have anyone to accompany them), persons not living in pakka homes (in tents or on the road side), who are not literate (for whom registration on the COWIN app and getting the certificate are very confusing and frustrating), who do not have phones, who do not have documents and for whom “have you eaten before coming to get vaccinated?” are all distressing questions.

The vaccination process is anyway difficult because of the technology involved and the many rumours being spread against it. In this situation, these groups face very low confidence when they arrive at a centre and are asked things like “are you registered on COWIN”, “what is your reference ID”, “do you have the first dose certificate?” and so on. Even finding the OTP message on their phone is a challenge. Sensitivity and respect for the dignity of all persons, training against bias from which comes a tendency to victim-blame – are needed to make sure that these groups are able to get the vaccine in a dignified manner.

Anubhuti’s vaccination camps are being organized specially for these groups. These are almost entirely community youth led camps – they are already sensitive and know how to deal with the myriad challenges being faced by the more vulnerable in their communities. They have been trained in the technical aspects of the camp as well as in gender justice and Anti-Discrimination. They are handling everything from mobilization of the most unreached groups, counseling them, streamlining their constant inflow, managing the many challenges, and providing correct and context-sensitive information about the pandemic as well as related financial, social and political matters.

The camps are being organized with complete community collaboration and leadership. Logistics are being managed by them in the most challenging situations. In one case, a ground used for garbage dumping by the locals was cleared, cleaned, sanitized and converted overnight into a vaccination centre. We believe that this kind of all night, day after day, exhausting work – while ensuring that the most vulnerable persons feel welcome – is certainly movement work. NT-DNT community leaders have shouldered these responsibilities, and Anubhuti team is privileged to be working with them and constantly learning.

We have reached close to 2000 doses over the last one week in different spots in Vitthalwadi in Thane District. We thank CII Foundation, CLP India, Nanavati Hospital for supporting these vaccinations and the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation for sensitively cooperating.

We would like to learn how you are strategizing and bringing over 250 people every single day to your camps. That too from locations where there is lot of hesitance.

A medical officer in Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation