Hyderabad Group Running ‘Vaccination on Wheels Campaign’ for Senior Citizens, Destitute

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Till date Sakina Foundation has helped 2,800 people take vaccines at both the government vaccine centres and at private hospitals

Sakina Foundation, which is engaged in relief and charity works for the last 10 years, is ensuring that no one goes without Covid jabs.

Nikhat Fatima | Clarion India

HYDERABAD – Asif Hussain Sohail, founder of Sakina Foundation, has taken up a new task of ensuring that people who cannot access the vaccine centres are able to take the jab by taking them to the vaccine centres in Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

This service is exclusively for senior citizens, homeless people and roadside hawkers. Due to lockdown a lot of people are afraid to come out and take the vaccine. Transportation is also another hindrance as they do not own vehicles.  Under such circumstances the Sakina Foundation has come up with what its founder calls ‘vaccination on wheels campaign’ to make it easier for people to get vaccinated

“Many senior citizens living on their own are unable to go on their own to the vaccine centres and added to this was the lockdown restriction which was from 6 am to 10 am a few days back. So people who wanted to be vaccinated could not go out as it went against the lockdown rules; so I decided to arrange vehicles for such people and ensure they reached the vaccine centres and got vaccinated,” said Sohail.

Though the lockdown has now been relaxed after it has been extended till June 9, his foundation continues to provide the service.

Till date he has helped 2,800 people take the vaccine at both the government vaccine centres and at private hospitals. But the intention is to ensure that the maximum number of people avail the free vaccination at government vaccine centres.

Sohail has been in the forefront helping people right from the first wave of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown, when daily-wage labourers and homeless people were left in the lurch. Sohail through Sakina Foundation was among the social activists providing food to the people. Despite movement restrictions due to the curfew he and his volunteers managed with the pass issued by the police.

A senior citizen couple brought to a vaccination centre by the volunteers of Sakina Foundation

And again in the same year 2020, when the city witnessed unprecedented rains in October 2020 and half the city was drowning, Sohail again came to their rescue by helping people evacuate, taking them to safety, ensuring they had warm clothes and food.

And recently when there was acute shortage of oxygen and beds in hospitals, he was getting at least 200 calls per day requesting for help. Sohail spent more than 10 lakhs rupees from his pocket to buy 200 oxygen cylinders and help people avail treatment in their homes and in hospitals.

During the same time he also initiated the concept of ‘oxygen on wheels’ wherein the oxygen cylinders are provided to patients who are on their way to the city for treatment from their towns and villages. His volunteers would drive to help the patient on the way and put him on oxygen right there on the highway so they could breathe easy till they reached the hospital.

And now Sohail and his 100-plus volunteers are helping people get vaccinated.

“As we have already worked with people for so many days, we have a database and we are able to identify people who are keen to be vaccinated. We make a list of senior citizens with help from the area or basti committees. Our volunteers collect their identity proof which is mostly their Aadhar cards. And the next step is to register these people at a nearby vaccination centre” said Sohail.

“After registration the next step is to take the people to the nearby Vaccination centre. This way they do not have to wait in long queues. The required documents are submitted to the Registration Department” he said.

More than 50 mobile vaccination vans are stationed at all the four zones of the city and also in some districts of Telangana to take the people to the vaccination centres. Some of the vans belong to people who wish to help while some are rented.

We are receiving many calls from senior citizens who reside alone to help them with the vaccinations.

“Our sole purpose is to safeguard the lives of senior citizens, homeless and vulnerable people who are finding it difficult to administer the vaccine during the lockdown. We will campaign door to door to take vaccines, so we can win the war against Covid,” said Sohail.

And another task the Sakina Foundation is involved in is counselling people about the importance of getting vaccinated as many people are apprehensive and very reluctant given the fake news being circulated on social media.

The vaccine being administered is Covishield. And now after more than a month, the volunteers of Sakina Foundation are verifying and administering the 2nd dose of the vaccination at either government or private centres according to the availability. If the government centres run out of stock Sakina Foundation is paying for vaccines at private vaccine centres and ensuring that senior people are not left out.

Sohail shared an interesting fact. “Despite living on streets, many of the homeless persons have some form of identity card with them – either their aadhar cards or voter IDs. This was somewhat surprising but it smoothened the vaccination process”, he said.

The government portal for vaccination does not accept registration without a proof of identity. For those who don’t have any ID proof, Sohail has a request to the government. “Senior citizens and others not having documents should be considered as emergency cases and some kind of temporary identity card should be created for them so that they can also be vaccinated and saved from Covid. Every life is precious”.

While these services during Covid are going on, another regular work being carried out by Sakina Foundation for the last 10 years of feeding the hungry continues every single day.

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