Centre tells states, UTs to organise separate vaccination drives for transgender persons

The central government has asked all states and union territories to organise separate vaccination drives to inoculate transgender persons against covid 19. This direction was communicated through a letter in which the union government pointed out discrimination against the community at existing vaccination centres.

Since vaccine hesitancy as well as lack of awareness has been a big factor of lesser number of the transgender community getting vaccinated, the letter addressed to the cabinet secretaries, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment suggested that awareness drives in vernacular languages be organised for the transgender community to address these issues. It further asked the states to ensure that the existing Vaccination Centres are transgender-friendly and to open separate vaccination camp or mobile booths for vaccination of the transgender community.

The ministry said it had started a helpline to further support the community and to addres the various reasons for mental distress among the community. "A letter has also been written by the Ministry to the principal secretaries of all states to ensure that there is no discrimination against transgender persons in existing COVID-19 vaccination centres,” the ministry said in a statement. A couple of days ago the ministry announced 1500 Rs aid to sustain transgender persons as immediate support to meet their basic requirements.

Citing the fear of discrimination and disparity in vaccination that transgender persons could avail, the activists and organisations working for them have been demanding separate vaccination centres. Assam was the very first state to open separate camps for transgender persons. Various district authorities like those of Gautam Buddha Nagar, Ghaziabad, Pune and Chennai have already begun or assuring to begin separate drives soon.

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