Covid vaccination: Worst-hit Mumbai gets the lion's share (File Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Kolkata, May 7 : Two prominent Kolkata football clubs -- Southern Samity and Kalighat Milan Sangha FC -- have taken the lead in helping the underprivileged people of the state get vaccinated against Covid-19.

The two clubs -- who feature regularly in the Calcutta Football League -- along with the Indian Football Association (IFA), will provide free vaccinations to more than 900 people.

Southern Samity secretary Sourav Pal said on Friday, "We have a clinic near our club office where there were serpentine queues every day. Many among those who queued up were from very poor backgrounds, who would barely be able to put the money together for the vaccinations. That really struck us, and we decided to go ahead with the vaccination drive." The club had initially started the drive by giving vaccination to those associated with football and a few underprivileged people.

"Our initial plan was to provide free vaccinations to people above the age of 45, who were associated with football -- referees, club officials, and other staff. We had arranged the finances accordingly," said Pal. "Our initial estimate was not more than 300-400 people." However, after the campaign received an overwhelming response from the locals, the club decided to register 900 people for the vaccine.

"We approached Kalighat Milan Sangha FC and IFA for help with the vaccination drive, and they both stepped up in this time of need. With pooled resources, we are now looking to provide more vaccinations," said Pal, adding, "We are looking to vaccinate more than just the people in and around football."

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