COVID-19 vaccination camps for the underprivileged were organised in Mumbai and its suburban belt, where beneficiaries above 18 years of age took their first dose of Covishield. Both these camps were organised by non-governmental organisations and elected public representatives of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In South Mumbai, more than 300 beneficiaries took their doses at a vaccination camp arranged in Ashoka Hall, Nariman Point. Rahul Narwekar, BJP legislator from this area, had supported this drive. A private hospital was appointed to conduct it and the vaccines were procured from the funds generated through donation drives.
Corporator Harshita Narwekar said that, initially, they had planned to organise the camp in the city’s slum pockets. However, due to logistical reasons, they preferred to set it up at the hall.
"Inside slum areas, we were facing internet problems, so we had to set up the camp inside the hall. We had also arranged for a bus to ferry beneficiaries to and from the vaccination centre," Narwekar said.
She said that, so far, they have been able to raise funds for 3,000 vaccines and their overall target is 5,000. In Mulund, a vaccination camp for the underprivileged was arranged by local BJP legislator Mihir Kotecha. He said that the money for the doses was collected from those living in his constituency. So far, he has been able to raise funds for 3,000 doses.
"On Monday we administered doses to 300 beneficiaries and we are working towards raising money for 10,000 doses," Kotecha said. He added, since the last 10 days, his party workers have been visiting slum pockets, helping residents pre-register themselves and raising awareness about vaccines.
"In slums, people are still very much reluctant to take the jab," he said. Meanwhile, political analysts have said that the vaccination drives have become one of the key aspects for political parties to woo voters. "With civic polls just around, many elected representatives are helping the residents of their areas to get vaccinated. There cannot be anything better than this to woo the voters of their constituency, as most of the citizens are still struggling to get their first dose," said Manoj Karnick, a political analyst and senior professor of political science.