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Sonali, a 15-year-old girl from Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district, was devastated after losing her best friend to COVID-19 on January 5, 2021. The tragic incident frightened her as there was no vaccine back then for her age group. She has been living in a state of fear ever since.

With the support of the district administration, Bal Raksha Bharat launched a vaccination drive to reach the vulnerable population of Baddi in Himachal Pradesh and provide access to scientific, evidence-based information on COVID-19 vaccinations, as per government guidelines, in a way that the community understood and dispelled any misinformation around it.

During the door-to-door visits to identify the people who hadn’t been vaccinated, the field team was introduced to Sonali and her family. After her friend’s loss, Sonali feared getting infected with COVID-19. She was reluctant to get vaccinated when the drive was rolled out on January 3, 2022. She stressed that she would suffer from unbearable pain and fever after taking the shot.

With the support of her parents, the team made her aware that it’s common to experience mild to moderate side effects after getting the vaccine and convinced her to take the first shot.

On January 8, she got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. She informed the team that she experienced mild fever and pain in her arm, where the injection was given only for two days. After recovering, she started motivating her friends to get the vaccine.

During the pandemic, Bal Raksha Bharat’s team in collaboration with state health department in Himachal Pradesh, were actively disseminating all the health advisories and guidelines released by the government. The teams in various intervention areas taught the community to practice social distancing and COVID-appropriate behaviour. When the Government of India rolled out the vaccination drive for adults, the on-ground staff collaborated with the district administrations to facilitate the vaccination of adults and address any vaccine hesitancy in the community. The same drive was undertaken when vaccines were rolled out for children.

On July 2022, the Government of India achieved the landmark of surpassing 200 crore COVID-19 vaccinations since its launch in January 2021. The vaccination drive was carried out through initiatives like Har Ghar Dastak, Workplace CVC (COVID Vaccination Centre), school-based vaccination, vaccination of persons with no identity documents, near-to-home CVC and mobile vaccination teams.

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