Coronavirus | A vaccination drive that benefited the whole street in Chennai

Here is how a vaccination camp at a gated community in MRC Nagar drew not only residents, but also neighbours

When Priya Ramkumar, a resident of Jains Sagarika in MRC Nagar, coordinated with the local Urban Primary Health Centre to organise a vaccination camp at the community, she expected enthusiastic participation.

The PHC had informed Priya that a minimum of 100 people should sign up for it for them to come down with their team and an ambulance and run the camp. To Priya’s surprise, she could not line up that number.

Response to an announcement at the apartment’s WhatsApp group, and door-to-door collection of data about interested residents was disheartening.

The number proved elusive, but still Priya got the camp ready, hoping for a turnaround.

On March 29, when the team arrived, the number shot up well past the 100 mark – nearly 110 took the jab.

Priya and a few other residents including Sudha Gopal, Sunitha S and Harry Peters who coordinated the camp did something that had swung the scales.

They had spoken to house maids, cooks, security staff and vendors at the apartment about the drive.

Priya says through a friend at the neighbouring apartment, Lords, members of its house-keeping staff who wanted to take the jab were also informed.

That the Corporation team did not turn up on the planned day helped, as there was more time for organising the number.

When the day arrived, the resident-volunteers accepted walk-ins, as the latter came prepared, with all the documents, and were eligible for vaccination. So, they could not bring themselves to turn them away. For instance, staff from a hotel next door walked in.

Priya believes updates in apartment groups through the day, helped too.

“We would keep posting photos after every 10 vaccinations — saying, ‘20 done’, ‘30 done’ and so on,” she says.

Tokens were distributed to people and some were not waiting along with the others, so announcements were made in the group asking the respective token holder to come down as their turn neared. Similarly, photos of the oldest/ youngest/ 50th were shared.

Some residents decided to get vaccinated just on the day, says Priya. The drive, she adds, benefited not only her community, but the whole street.


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