The Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu has become the first district in the state to inoculate the first dose of the Covid vaccine to whole of its tribal population.
The Nilgiris district collector Innocent Divya while speaking to IANS said that the district administration has completed the first dose of vaccination to all its eligible tribal population.
The district has 21,800 tribals from communities such as Todas, Kotas, Kurumbas, Paniyas, Irulas and Kattunaykans, which are spread across 438 hamlets of the district. The total population of tribals in the district is 27,500 out of which 21,800 were eligible to be vaccinated.
Tamil Nadu Medical and Family Welfare Minister, Ma Subramanian while on a visit to Nilgiris had come to know of the vaccination drives being conducted by the district administration in tribal colonies. The minister on June 6 during the visit had then promised that he would take steps to provide vaccine doses to the district to inoculate the whole tribal population of the district.
Innocent Divya while speaking to IANS said, “We roped in several NGOs and other social groups working among the tribals to create awareness on the necessity of vaccination and then things were more comfortable. After the assurance from the minister, we put in a concrete action plan to complete the task.”
She said that there was a punch campaign which helped increase the awareness, “Vandhu Vaccination Podu, super starra thirumbi po”.(Come, get vaccinated and return as a superstar.)
Nilgiri Adivasi Welfare association officials along with the state health department officials and the district administration had to walk for five to ten km to reach some tribal terrain to vaccinate the tribal populace.
Association for Health welfare in Nilgiris and Nilgiris Wayanad Tribal Welfare society were also part of the drive to inoculate the tribal population of the district and to make it the first district in the state to fully inject the first dose of vaccines to the tribal population.