Dear friends, 

Unlike last year, the second wave of COVID affected many people known to us personally. I got directly involved in helping some of them to handle their COVID crisis. In that process, I happened to visit a well-reputed corporate hospital. It did not look like a corporate hospital but like an overcrowded government hospital. The emergency department was inundated and the doctors and caregivers were burnt-out and confused. Many hospitals are in a similar situation and the crisis is still far from over. Therefore, I request you to follow COVID appropriate behaviour, protect yourself and others, and reduce the burden on the hospitals. 

There is one more thing we can do to save people and to reduce the burden on the hospitals. Vaccination! COVID vaccine eligibility in India had been expanded to people above 18 years. We have about 800 million people in that category. Half of them may be motivated to take vaccine of their own. The remaining half, 400 million, may need some persuasion. I presume that at least 200 million of these vaccine eligible people may prefer a CHAI hospital to take vaccination due to trust, affordability, and other factors. The Catholic Health Association of India with its vast network of about 3500 member institutions is working on an ambitious plan. To begin with, we would like to reach at least a few million people with the COVID vaccine, at the earliest. 

As you may be aware, some doctors and nurses who were vaccinated got infected with COVID. That should not discourage us from taking the vaccine. Those who are vaccinated can get infected. However, the vaccine can prevent severe infection and hospitalization. Most of the vaccinated doctors and nurses who got infected had mild infections and could continue to serve others. Therefore, please do not hesitate to take the COVID vaccine. It will protect from severe infection and hospitalization. CHAI has put together a multifaceted team to design and roll out ‘VacciNet’, our vaccine campaign. ‘VacciNet’ represents the CHAI network, a safety net against COVID, and could be also read as ‘vaccinate’. ‘VacciNet’ includes the following elements.

Signing up partners for demand generation through promotion activities Signing up supply chain partners to negotiate adequate supply and better prices Raise funds to support vaccinations free or at a subsidized cost for those who cannot affordRoll-out promotional activities across multiple channelsSigning up hospitals that want to be part of this campaign and support them 

We are grateful to some of the donors who have already come forward to support us. To begin with, we have placed an order of 50,000 doses with Serum institute, and expecting the delivery of the vaccine to our hospitals at the earliest. There are also some challenges in our plan to reach millions of people with the COVID vaccine. Please pray for ‘VacciNet’, that we may get sufficient supply, that we may get adequate donations to vaccinate those who cannot afford it. Please contribute to ‘VacciNet’ with your time, talents and other resources. Visit our website for more details.

Thanking you,
Rev Dr Mathew Abraham, C.Ss.R
Director General, CHAI 
(CHAI is member of FIAMC)