Staff at Manchester City’s sister club, Montevideo City Torque, ran a volunteer-led vaccination programme at the City Football Academy (CFA) to ensure people with Down Syndrome were protected against COVID-19.
The Montevideo City Torque Foundation played a key role in the vaccination initiative, which was the brainchild of club doctor, Daniela Fernandez, who instigated the programme after it became apparent people with Down Syndrome were not being prioritised in the Uruguayan capital’s vaccination process, despite being highly vulnerable.
With the support of the Foundation, Dr Fernandez campaigned for all citizens with Down Syndrome to be vaccinated at the CFA.
After it was approved by the Public Health Ministry, she led a team of staff who spent 370 hours volunteering over a three-week period to ensure 520 people received vaccinations.
“People with Down Syndrome were not being prioritised as a group and we had to find scientific data from international sources to back up our proposal,” explained Dr Fernandez.
“The response of parents and relatives when they found out they were getting the vaccine was of absolute joy and gratitude.
“When we contacted them to give them an appointment, they would cry on the phone, it was sheer happiness. That's something I'll never forget; I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.
“Despite the long days of work, the experience has been extremely satisfying.
“I have no words to express how I felt seeing the happy faces on these young people, so innocent and so grateful to be able to finally regain some sense of normalcy in their lives after a whole year spent indoors, it was truly wonderful.”
In addition to the vaccination initiative, the community team at Montevideo City Torque have also provided much needed support to families living in a situation of extreme social vulnerability during the Coronavirus crisis.
With the pandemic leading to the closure of schools, it left the most vulnerable children facing reduced access to food and sanitation and increased risks to their safety. To reopen, schools were required to implement new hygiene measures, so the Foundation have donated sanitation kits to seven schools, helping them to provide a safe environment for 2,700 pupils to return to education.
To learn more visit: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/cityzens-giving-for-recovery-montevideo/