Smaller housing societies of South Mumbai are now joining hands to host a single COVID-19 vaccination drive. In this drive, one society will play the host and give its premises to set up the camp. Residents of neighbouring societies will pitch in and visit the host society for their dose.
Spokespersons of housing societies and elected public representatives have said that private hospitals now need a minimum of 250 to 300 beneficiaries to conduct the drive in a housing society. Therefore, smaller buildings have been tying up amongst themselves in order to increase the headcount.
Shobha Jagtiani, chairperson of Palm Springs in Cuffe Parade, said that, on Friday, a drive was arranged jointly by four residential buildings of the same neighbourhood. "The private hospital that supplied the doses said that a minimum of 300 beneficiaries was needed for the camp. The drive was organised at Mehr-Dad, where residents from the other three buildings were also inoculated," Jagtiani said.
She said most of the beneficiaries that are getting vaccinated in these camps are either staff or domestic helps. Pruthesh Shah, secretary of Sea Lord, said that, on Friday, a similar drive was arranged at the parking space of his building in which 290 beneficiaries from his building and two other neighbouring buildings got their doses.
"We were told that a minimum of 200 beneficiaries were required for the drive and the camp was set up inside our parking lot. To avoid crowding, we divided the beneficiaries into time slots. Not more than 40 people were allowed inside the premises every hour," Shah said.
He said that almost all the beneficiaries were from the 18 to 45 age groups. There were only one or two beneficiaries who were above 60 years of age and had their second dose due.
Parag Udhani, chairperson of Venus, said that, last week, he had arranged a drive with six more societies in his area and 380 beneficiaries took their doses. He said pre-registration is must for every beneficiary and each society has to follow a similar set of guidelines.
Harshita Narwekar, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator from Cuffe Parade, has been helping societies arrange drives with hospitals. "Now that multiple buildings are hosting the camps together, more people are getting vaccinated in a given time. We have been organising these kinds of drives for the past few weeks now and the demand is increasing amongst the citizens with each passing day. The beneficiaries are finding it safe and comfortable that the camps are being arranged just at their doorstep," Narwekar said.
A spokesperson of one of the private hospitals said that setting up a camp where there are fewer beneficiaries becomes logistically difficult for them. "For each drive, we send a medical crew of 20 to 25 people, which includes doctors and nurses. We arrange for ambulances and wheelchairs as well, which is why we are now asking the organisers to have a minimum of 200 beneficiaries or else it becomes difficult for us," said the spokesperson.