Mr. Mathew Joseph, Country Director, AIF
New Delhi (India), March 21: The First Million, a nationwide vaccination initiative by the American India Foundationthat set out to inoculate 1 million marginalized Indians in July 2021, has concluded with an iconic achievement of 2 million doses. Partnering with the Common Services Centre (CSC), local on-ground NGOs, and State governments, the Initiative was targeted towards India’s marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Focused on facilitating vaccination for sex workers, persons from tribal populations, migrant workers including street vendors, persons with disability and caregivers, vulnerable women, and minors (aged 15-18 years), the Initiative recognized them as the six most vulnerable groups in need of immediate intervention.
Covering over 2 million (20 lac) doses across 26states of India, the beneficiary’s index of the marginalized community in the 8-month campaign period is:
- 6.9 lac migrant workers including street vendors
- 6.8 lac vulnerable women
- 1.9 lac persons from tribal communities
- 1.3 lac persons with Disabilities & caregivers
- 23971 sex workers
- 2.9 lac minors aged 15-18 years
To address vaccine hesitancy, promote vaccine eagerness and COVID-19 appropriate behavior amongst the identified vulnerable population, AIF also designed and executed Mission Corona Vijay – HarBaazu Mein Taaqat, an integrated 360-degree behavior change communication (BCC) campaign under the Initiative to reach, persuade, and generate the much-needed awareness amongst the local individuals to get vaccinated and bust the myths, misinformation and fears around vaccines.
Speaking on the success of ‘The First Million’ initiative, Mr. Mathew Joseph, Country Director, AIF said, “The First Million vaccination program was a relentless initiative to ensure the safety of the marginalized sections of urban and rural India against COVID 19. AIF initiated ‘The First Million’ in 2021 at a time when vaccinations were not readily accessible in India. Adding to this ambitious vision was an almost impossible task to dedicate timely access to vaccinations for a segment of the society that is often neglected and not a priority, that too on a national scale. Our collaborative and sustained efforts with State Governments and our network of on-ground partners have enabled us to achieve this meticulous feat.”
Acknowledging the power of partnerships, Nishant Pandey, CEO, AIF said, “Our prioritized vision of inoculating a million most vulnerable Indians mobilizing them and helping them get vaccinated during the COVID crisis required a shared response and a collaborative momentum, and it is this core unity that has helped us achieve the milestone of 2 million doses in such a short period. The Initiative is exemplary and vital in helping the population of India against one of the most devastating and unprecedented challenges that the country has faced.”
To achieve the mammoth vision, along with CSC as the end to end facilitation partner, AIF’s strategic partnerships included Uber as the Mobility partner; Apollo Hospital as the Vaccine administration partner; EY India as the Process Monitoring partner; and National Association for Blind (NAB),National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), Anaxee Digital Runners Pvt. Ltd., ASRA (MP), SAKSHAM, YRGCARE, Centre for Youth Development Activity (CYDA), Prodigal Homes, Himalayan Jyoti Samiti, Vaccine on Wheels, Leonard Cheshire, UVA JAGRITI SANSTHAN (UJS)as the implementation & outreach partners; and Wunderman Thompson and Gaon Connection as the BCC Campaign Partners.