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5.22% of transsexuals vaccinated so far; Activists Say Misinformation and Lack of Digital Knowledge Add to Their Problems | India News


NEW DELHI: With only 25,468 (5.22 percent) transgender people having been vaccinated against Covid-19 in India so far, activists said misinformation, lack of documents and the digital divide have added to their problems for get vaccinated.
According to the 2011 census, there are 4.87 lakhs of people belonging to the transgender community in India.
A total of 8,80,47,053 men and 7,67,64,479 women have been vaccinated, while only 25,468 people in the ‘other’ category have been vaccinated, the CoWIN portal showed.
Activists said misinformation, lack of digital knowledge and lack of government documents are the main reasons behind community members’ hesitancy to get vaccinated.
Transgender activist Pushpa Mai, who lives in Jaipur, said many community members approached her with questions related to vaccination.
“They were wrong. They were told that getting vaccinated would make their health worse. We explained that getting vaccinated can protect them from this deadly disease and that they should get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Mai said.
Shahana, 21, said she had many reservations about the vaccine before, but activists allayed her fears.
“My friends told me that you are going to die, why do you want to risk your life? … but then I asked the activists and they told me that there is nothing like that and that I should get vaccinated since the doses will give me protection”, Shahana, who works as an office assistant, said.
Another person from the community, who is HIV positive, said he is not sure if vaccination is safe for him.
Dr. Vandana Prasad, a public health professional, said there are no contraindications that people who are HIV positive or who have recently had surgery cannot get vaccinated.
“There is some misinformation that you will die if you take the vaccines. There are some side effects of vaccines, including death, but that is a very, very rare event compared to deaths due to Covid-19. You can talk to your doctors, but in general, if they are not severely immunosuppressed, they can get vaccinated, “he said.
Some people in the community are eager to get vaccinated, but do not have the necessary documents.
Chandni, 50, who makes a living dancing at weddings and family functions, has been desperate to get vaccinated. Chandni, a diabetic, said she does not have any government documents that are necessary to get vaccinated.
“If I go somewhere to perform, they ask me if I or members of my family have any symptoms or if I have been vaccinated, so it is necessary to get vaccinated to keep me safe and also to earn a living,” he said.
Samina (name changed), 44, who earns her living begging at traffic lights, has an Aadhaar card but does not own a smartphone and is hesitant to get vaccinated without an appointment for fear of discrimination.
“My friend left and the people who were queuing outside took her and told her she couldn’t get vaccinated with them. I want to go on an appointment so that no one can say that, but without a smartphone that’s very difficult,” she said. saying.
Chandni and Samina are now awaiting a special vaccination campaign as planned by the government.
The Center had recently asked states to ensure that there was no discrimination against transgender people at Covid-19 vaccination centers.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has also urged states to conduct awareness campaigns, especially to reach out to members of the transgender community in different vernacular languages ​​to ensure they are informed and aware of the vaccination process.
The ministry has also asked states to set up separate mobile vaccination centers or booths for the vaccination of transgender people, such as those found in the states of Haryana and Assam.
Meera Parida, representative of the eastern region in the National Council for Transgender People, said that together with her NGO Sakha they are planning to organize a special campaign for community members in Odisha.
“There were apprehensions and fears among community members about vaccination, but now the situation is improving and we are planning a special campaign for community members,” Parida said.
The executive director of the NGO Center for Defense and Research (CFAR), Akhila Sivadas, said that any disease prevention approach requires community involvement.
“This is particularly true for marginal groups such as transgender people, who even in the best of cases feel without the support and acceptance of mainstream society. Vaccine preparation cannot be guaranteed without involving the community and encourage them to be part of the solution and find ways to educate and persuade their peers, “he said.

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