KOCHI: Ernakulam district has successfully vaccinated over 50 per cent of its guest workers. The special vaccination campaign titled Guest Vax has reached 13, 44,760 migrant workers through 117 special camps. Of the lot, 44,300 people have received the first dose and 460 have got both shots. The number includes vaccination provided directly by employers (13,330) as well. The data was collected from 77,991 workers who were present in the district during the second lockdown (57.36 per cent).
“Assistant labour officers are in charge of conducting the special vaccination camps for the migrant community. They visit the areas were with a higher density of guests workers and identify halls and auditoriums that can hold the camps. A special team from the National Health Mission (NHM) is in charge of the vaccination process,” said district labour officer P M Feroz.
He added that the team had to face difficulties in the beginning as many guests workers had apprehensions about getting vaccinated. “NGOs like Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID) also helped us in areas like Perumbavoor, where the migrant population is very high. During the second wave, many awareness programmes were also launched, apart from regular visits to labour camps,” he said.
The labour department officials also collected phone numbers of workers and added them to WhatsApp groups. Information was posted in these groups as voice messages and videos in various languages. “A small number of migrant workers still had apprehensions regarding the side effects of vaccination, so we had to tackle this,” Feroz added.