In an effort to strengthen the COVID-19 vaccination drive amid battling the horrendous second wave of the pandemic, a group of non-profit organizations has come up with the idea of providing various freebies to people to invite them to receive the Covid vaccine shots and the idea has been unveiled in Kovalam in the outskirts of Chennai. It has got a significant reception and it is paying well for the efforts.
In a first-of-its-kind development in the state of Tamil Nadu, the group is providing a plate of Biriyani and a recharge coupon for the mobile numbers of the people, at free of cost, who had received the COVID-19 vaccine shots. The offer has brought many people to the vaccine centres to get inoculated with the doses. While the idea has been carried out by STS Foundation on the ground, the funds for the freebie project have been pumped in by CN Ramdas Trust and CHIRAG Trust.
Apart from providing a plate of Biriyani and a recharge coupon, the STS Foundation has also announced prizes for the people to get vaccinated. Speaking to the media, Sundar, the trustee of the STS Foundation has said, "We additionally have two lucky draws, one a weekly affair and another, the bumper prize." According to reports, the lucky draw winners can get prizes ranging from a gold coin, mixie, to grinder while the bumper prize win will come with a bike or a washing machine, or a refrigerator.
The visuals from Kovalam had shown that the foundation has placed all these items in the area as its campaign to the people to win these if they get the vaccines. The reports say that the prizes would be given based on a coupon method. The vaccine drive in the area was inaugurated by an elderly couple in Kovalam, 91-year-old Subramani and 88-year-old Susila. The residents of the fishing village can call to STS Foundation's toll-free number to book a slot for receiving vaccines.
The reports say that their slots will be confirmed with a text message followed by a call based on vaccine availability. The foundation is planning to cover the entire 18+ population of 6,400 people in Kovalam with the next five months and the district administration through the public health centre in Kelambakkam is supporting the initiative by administering the vaccines for the villagers at free of cost.
The idea has been receiving a great response in the village that the people who were hesitant in receiving the doses earlier are now marching towards the centre. The freebie project to increase the vaccinations is jointly launched by STS Foundation, CN Ramdas Trust, and New York-based CHIRAG. Girish Ramdas, the trustee of CN Ramdas Trust said, "Before the drive began, less than 100 people in the area had taken their vaccine shot. Hesitancy among people is especially high in rural areas and now that we have been able to see a good response and we are confident of taking this model to other villages as well."
Girish is the son of CN Ramdas IAS, who was the former Special Officer of Greater Chennai Corporation. According to reports, CN Ramdas Trust has been acquiring support for this project from several parts of the world, particularly from the alumni of the 1992 batch from Don Bosco School. On the other hand, CHIRAG Trust, which is part of the project, has been founded by Dr Rajeev Fernando, a reputed infectious diseases doctor in New York, who is also an alumnus from the school.