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HC asks Maharashtra why Centre nod needed for proposed home vaccination for bedridden on experimental basis

The health department said the proposal will be sent to the state government, which will decide on it following which it will be sent to the central government for further approval.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: June 29, 2021 11:07:20 pm
PMC, Bombay High Court, PMC tax collection, pune news, pune latest news, pune today news, pune local news, new pune news, latest pune newsThe bench has been hearing a PIL filed by city-based lawyers, Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking directions to the Centre, state government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to provide door-to-door vaccination facility for those aged over 75, specially abled and bedridden.

The state public health department on Tuesday informed the Bombay High Court that based on suggestions of the state Covid task force, it desired to propose “home vaccination” for bedridden or immobile persons on an experimental basis. The High Court, however, asked as to why the Centre’s nod was required in the matter, when the state government said a proposal on the matter will be sent for further approval.

The state health department filed an affidavit to a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni. The bench has been hearing a PIL filed by city-based lawyers, Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking directions to the Centre, state government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to provide door-to-door vaccination facility for those aged over 75, specially abled and bedridden.

The health department said the proposal will be sent to the state government, which will decide on it following which it will be sent to the central government for further approval.

The court, however, questioned the state government on “diluted guidelines” and sought to know why the Centre’s nod was required. It said the issue of health also comes under state list in the Constitution and asked if other states, including Bihar, Kerala and Jharkhand, had obtained similar approval for home vaccination.

“Why do you (Maharashtra government) need the Centre’s approval? Health is a state subject too. Is the state government doing everything after taking approval from the Centre?” the HC asked.

The state government, on June 22, submitted before the HC draft guidelines drawn up by the task force on door-to-door vaccination and sought a week’s time to get approval for implementing the policy. After perusing the draft guidelines, the HC had observed that it was proceeding in the “right direction” and found it appropriate to leave it to the wisdom of the task force to formulate measures for the elderly and specially abled.

An affidavit filed by Dr Dilip Narayan Patil, deputy director of state family welfare bureau, Pune, on Monday enumerated five conditions: home vaccination only for bedridden beneficiaries, prior certificate from treating doctor to show beneficiary is immobile, a doctor to certify that beneficiary will not have adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) and be “entirely responsible” to provide appropriate treatment in that case.

The affidavit also stated that a written consent from a family member will be required to receive the jab, and to avoid vaccine wastage, at least 10 beneficiaries in close proximity should be made available for vaccination.

Kapadia submitted that private doctors will not be able to give certificates stating beneficiary is likely to not have AEFI and take responsibility for the same, and therefore, difficulties be removed from the proposed guidelines.

After perusing submissions, the bench told advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, representing the state, “This affidavit dilutes the task force guidelines. Today’s affidavit again takes a step back. We had appreciated the draft guidelines framed by the task force, you will find a radical change. This is not what we expected from the state.”

The HC will hear the PIL on June 30.

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