Wadia Hospital in association with Aarya organised COVID vaccination drive for Commercial Female Sex Workers on 28th June 2021 at Wadia Hospital, Mumbai with support from GAURAV and Aastha Parivar. Under this initiative, over 200 individuals were vaccinated with the first dose of COVIDSHIELD Vaccine. The occasion was graced by the presence of Hon’ble Mayor Smt. Kishori Pednekar, MLA Shri. Ajay Chaudhary, Dr.Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO Of Wadia Hospital, Zainab Patel- Human Rights Activist, Dr. Shrikala Acharya- Additional project Director at Mumbai District AIDS Control Society, “The coronavirus does not discriminate on the basis of gender as anyone can get infected with it.
This initiative aims to safeguard this vulnerable class of society from the harmful effects of Covid-19 and vaccinate each and every one. We always wanted to help this section of the population. Also, there is also a lot of misinformation regarding the side effects of the vaccine and all the members were counselled to get vaccinated. But, even after vaccination, they will have to continue following the Covid protocol of masking, social distancing, and hand sanitizing,” said Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO of Wadia Hospital.
Honorable Mayor Smt. Kishori Pednekar said “Many vaccination drives were conducted for Vulnerable and marginalised communities; however, the sex workers were left behind. As sex work is still considered as ‘taboo’ and this makes it harder to tackle the problems that they face on a day-to-day basis.”
Shital Bhatkar, the founder of WithAarya took the noble initiative to erase this taboo and resolve the problems that this community faced, especially since the pandemic made their clientele minimal and they essentially lost their livelihood. In parallel with the vaccination, all beneficiaries received Dry ration kit, Personal hygiene, sanitation kit, and Saree (with support from Aarsa an initiative supporting the cause of artisans. Moreover, Transportation facilities were provided to ease the commute for the workers.
After inoculation, transgender vaccine beneficiary Nisha Singh (name changed), said, “Humbled by the initiative taken by Aarya in association with GAURAV and Aastha Parivaar and Wadia Hospital. Initially I was scared because of many rumours associated with vaccines and its safe. Our entire community is grateful for the vaccination drive.”