May 13, 2021 10:10:57 pm
Indicating its displeasure with the Centre on the vaccination situation while stressing on the need for innovative dissemination of Covid information during a hearing Thursday, the Delhi High Court said that a caller tune on vaccination was being played before every call even when there is shortage of vaccines.
“You have been playing that one irritating message on the phone whenever one makes a call, for I don’t know how long, that we have the vaccination when you actually don’t have the vaccination. You are not vaccinating people but you still say, ‘vaccination lagvayein (get vaccinated)’, kaun lagayega vaccination (who will get vaccination) when there is no vaccination. What is the point?” the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli observed.
“Not that you have prepared one and you will keep running it till, like a tape it stops running… you will keep running it for ten years. You have to react to the situation existing on ground, You please have more of them. Maybe a person will hear a different one every time and it will help them,” the court said.
On Thursday, the court said that awareness material created by IMCR, such as “audiovisual content like videos of Dr Randeep Guleria (AIIMS director)”, should be broadcast on national channels. It said that authorities can rope in Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan or any other star to “conduct interviews with celebrated doctors like Dr Guleria or Dr Paul (NITI Ayog member). All this needs to be done soon. There needs to be a sense of urgency. We are losing time,” it said.
The bench also said there was a lot of campaigning about washing hands and hygiene last year and there needs to be material regarding use of oxygen concentrators and cylinders as well to ensure they are used properly by people.
“All this needs to come fast because this is the time when people are importing and buying concentrators,” said the court, adding all this is the responsibility of the state.
In response to the observations on dissemination of information, the Central Government counsels told the court that they will take up the issue with the relevant Joint Secretary of Ministry of Health and report back next week.
The bench, headed by Justice Sanghi, has been monitoring the Covid situation on a daily basis since April 19. It has on multiple occasions censured both the Centre and Delhi government on issues like availability of medical oxygen to Delhi hospitals, its internal distribution in the national capital and other healthcare infrastructure-related issues.
On May 4, while rejecting Centre’s submission that Delhi does not require 700 MTs of medical oxygen, the bench had told the union government that it might choose to “dig its head like an ostrich in the sand” but the court will not. On May 6, the court told the Delhi government that its medical infrastructure has been “completely exposed” by the pandemic.
On Wednesday, the Delhi government was forced to shut 100 sites where Covaxin was being administered as they hadn’t received additional stock following an initial delivery of 1.5 lakh doses.
So far in Delhi, 32.74 lakh people have got one vaccination shot of Covishield or Covaxin. Of these, 4.7 lakh are in the 18-44 age bracket while another 9.65 lakh people have got both doses.
Till Thursday morning, 2.9 lakh doses for those above the age of 45, frontline workers and healthcare workers were left in stock. For the 18-44 age bracket, 3.9 lakh doses were left, of which only 10,000 are Covaxin.
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