November 2021 Update: COVID-19 Vaccination Drive Success
While 2021 has continued to challenge Calcutta Kids, we have adapted, innovated, and stretched ourselves in order to meet the evolving needs of our beneficiaries. We’re delighted to share a few recent accomplishments, including the success of our COVID-19 vaccine drives.
COVID-19 vaccine distribution success
In our last newsletter, we announced our plan to become a COVID-19 vaccination site and asked our supporters to consider making a donation to cover the costs.
We’re overwhelmed and incredibly grateful for the response we received: With your support, we exceeded our $12K fundraising goal and secured enough funds to cover COVID-19 vaccinations for all of our eligible beneficiaries.
We have already held two vaccine drives in partnership with the clinical organization Medicare Clinic Private Limited, through which we administered the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to a total of 337 beneficiaries, including pregnant women, mothers, and teen girls ages 18 and up. We will administer second vaccine doses to these women within the recommended time frame. Our goal is to fully vaccinate all eligible beneficiaries by summer of 2022.
Gratitude and positive feedback from our beneficiaries
Even though the government has been administering COVID-19 vaccines for months, most of our beneficiaries weren’t getting vaccinated. By making Calcutta Kids its own vaccination site, we were able to address the barriers that held our beneficiaries back and give them a positive vaccination experience.
Our beneficiaries told us they:
Had more confidence in the vaccine knowing that we were distributing it (vaccine fraud schemes at other non-governmental organizations had eroded confidence)
Appreciated learning about the vaccine’s benefits from our community health workers, whom they know and trust (other vaccination sites aren’t focused on vaccine education)
Were grateful for the smooth, quick vaccination process (government vaccination sites had vaccine shortages, which often resulted in people waiting in line all day only to be turned away before getting a shot)
Felt comfortable and safe in our waiting room, where we provided chairs for them to sit in, had fans to keep them cool, and emphasized masking and other COVID protocols (many other vaccination sites don’t offer these amenities or take these precautions)
Our beneficiaries were so eager to participate in our vaccine drives that severe flooding in the slum couldn’t keep them away — many people trudged through a foot of water to get to our vaccination site.
How we made it happen
From the outset, we recognized that partnerships would be essential to making our vaccination drives successful.
To that end, we:
- Partnered with Medicare Clinic Private Limited to administer the doses, because they had already gone through the lengthy process required to receive government certification to administer the COVID vaccine (our staff were on hand to provide operational support and put beneficiaries at ease)
- Worked with the Chief Medical Health Officer for the government hospital, who performed a check of our vaccination center, confirmed our adherence to the strict government criteria for vaccination sites, and noted that he was impressed with both the clinic environment and our operational plans for vaccine distribution
- Registered beneficiaries on the government website, thereby enabling them to receive the government-certified proof of vaccination
- To date, Calcutta Kids is the only non-governmental organization in the district of Howrah providing free COVID-19 vaccinations.
As always, thank you for your continued support of Calcutta Kids and the families we serve.
The Calcutta Kids Team
P.S. Keep an eye out for our annual fundraising letter later this month.