Two clubs have come together to arrange a vaccination drive in Kolkata.

Football is a game where 22 individuals battle it out for supremacy on the field. But when the going gets tough, most associated with the sport have not shied away from helping the society outside of the pitch. As the second wave of the COVID-19 virus has spread across the country, two clubs from Kolkata have joined the fight against the pandemic, arranging free vaccinations for the people.

Starting from Thursday, May 6, Southern Samity, along with Kalighat Milan Sangha FC (two clubs that regularly feature in the Calcutta Football League) and the Indian Football Association (IFA), have arranged a vaccination drive in Kolkata.

Southern Samity Secretary Mr. Sourav Pal said: “We have a clinic near our club office where there were long serpentine queues every day. Many among those who queued 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.”

Initially, the club had planned to help those in and around football with the vaccinations, along with people from not so fortunate backgrounds.

“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 Mr. Pal. “Our initial estimate was not more than 300-400 people.”

However, the organisers of the vaccination drive received an overwhelming response from the local people, many of whom called in to register themselves for the vaccine. According to Mr. Pal, the club has received over 900 registrations for the vaccine.

“We approached Kalighat Milan Sangha FC and IFA for help with the vaccination drive, and I must really thank them both for stepping up at this time of need. With pooled resources, we are now looking to provide more vaccinations,” said the Southern Samitee Secretary. “We are now looking to vaccinate more than just the people in and around football.”

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