The Napean Sea Road Citizen's Forum (NSRCF) is set to hold a mass COVID-19 vaccination drive not just for those living in highrises, but for domestic helps, drivers and other support staff as well as slum dwellers in the neighbourhood. Members of the forum have said that they have raised funds through donation drives, which would help them vaccinate as many as 2,500 beneficiaries. They have also taken the local BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials into confidence and are in touch with multiple private hospitals to arrange the drive.
Mukul Mehra, secretary of NSRCF, informed that they are aiming to arrange around 8,000 doses, of which 2,500 to 3,000 doses will be administered to the underprivileged and the remaining will be kept for housing societies.
"Our priority is to vaccinate the underprivileged and those living in slums first. Their vaccines will be procured from the funds collected through donation. Societies will bear the cost of the doses for their members and in-house staff and drivers," Mehra said.
He added that his association is simultaneously coordinating with representatives from both slum associations and housing societies. "We have been permitted to use an indoor space that is more than 5,000 square feet, where we will be setting up our own centre," he said.
Sunil Dhabale, one of the representatives from the Simla Nagar slum pocket at Napean Sea Road, said that more than 700 families would benefit from the drive. "We are visiting door to door to register residents for the drive. From our slums, around 1,500 to 2,000 beneficiaries will get the dose. Most of them belong to the 18 to 44 years age group," said Dhabale.
Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner and in-charge of D ward, which covers Napean Sea Road, said that BMC is encouraging and helping citizens to arrange for their own vaccination drives. "I have been telling residents’ associations that if they are willing to arrange their own drive, they can contact us. We will help them get in touch with private hospitals that are helping citizens arrange their own drive," Gaikwad said.
Meanwhile, when FPJ approached some of the hospitals that are coordinating with NSRCF to arrange the drive, the hospitals said that they are in the process of procuring the vaccines, however they didn't wish to be named.
"We have received the NSRCF's proposal to arrange a mass vaccination drive for its citizens and the underprivileged. We are currently in the process of acquiring the doses. Only after we get adequate consignment of doses will we be able to give them a confirmation on the date of the drive," said a spokesperson from one of the hospitals.