It was a bright and sunny day as people of various ethnicity made their way to the Islamic Center of New England in Sharon. Families came from near and far accompanied by their children especially those over 12 years of age, with their shirt sleeves rolled up eager to get their first shot. This was also the first in-person event of the Pakistan Association of Greater Boston (PAGB) since COVID-19 first entered our lives - a COVID Vaccine Camp in collaboration with the Islamic Center of New England in Sharon. Until now, all of the PAGB's events since July 2020 were virtual and extremely successful. Siraj Khan, the President of PAGB remarked "yet another successful PAGB event," and in his Thank You message to Amir Rasheed, the President of the ICNE-Sharon, Siraj acknowledged the Centers' support, "On behalf of PAGB, please allow me to record my appreciation for collaborating with our Vice President Shabana Chaudhry to ensure that every task which we had to carry out, was executed efficiently and completely."
This social impact initiative was the brain-child of Shabana Chaudhry. She took the lead, planned and executed this sensitive project effectively, leading a team of young volunteers who were right on top of every step of the process . Lunch was provided to all volunteers.
Shabana summed it up rather nicely, "I wanted to combat COVID and make a difference." Make a difference she did. She and rest of the Board reached out to Sharon and all adjacent communities in a radius of 10 miles. Hira Khan [General Secretary PAGB] approached schools nearby. The PAGB-ICNE team is now looking forward to provide the second dose of the vaccine on June 12. Siraj added that "Shabana Chaudhry will continue to spearhead the activities on behalf of PAGB and work with the team as we did on May 22nd."
Umbulizer's affordable portable ventilator (seen in the photo held by Siraj Khan) and their contribution in the COVID-19 ambulance rescue work in Pakistan, also captured a lot of interest where the people rested post-vaccination. Their table was a busy spot.
Besides Siraj Khan, Shehla Gull [Treasurer] and Fauzia Sayeed [Dir. Social Affairs] of the PAGB Board were also present to ensure that the entire process moved along smoothly in an orderly manner, as were ICNE's volunteers.
The Reporter from Fox News arrived just in time and in the 'Evening News' reported that , "the vaccination clinic was sponsored by the Pakistan Association of Greater Boston. Volunteers helped the people, who were dispensed with the Pfizer vaccine. Shabana in her interview with Fox News, said, "Its fabulous. It has been very well received. We have collaborated with all the local schools and the neighboring towns .. and we have had a very good response all around."
Earlier, Siraj and Shabana also talked to the reporter from Spectrum News Channel. Shabana expressed her delight to lead a humanitarian and community service project for PAGB, which had a wider impact on the community, to help bring people together and was pleased that such an opportunity did present itself for her to get involved. She added that "Many hours of planning has gone behind this campaign, coordinating with the participating Pharmacy, adding the technical capability for people to register on-line on our website and FB and looking at the number of people registered, including children of 12 years and over, a large turnout is expected. She wasn't too far from the truth.
Siraj Khan, informed Spectrum News that the name Pakistan Association of Greater Boston [PAGB] did not reflect its true territorial span. In addition to Boston/Massa, the Association also serves the communities of Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.. Siraj added that with the vaccine Camp in partnership with ICNE, PAGB is taking upon itself a huge responsibility and hopes that everything would proceed smoothly on May 22nd.
In her wrap-up, the Reporter asked Tahir Ali whether he would like to add anything to which he replied with an amusing anecdote,
"yes - get shot and live."