Updated: April 21, 2021 6:59:54 pm
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that there cannot be a door-to-door vaccination policy as it would lead to “high vaccine wastage and contamination leading to reduction in efficacy”, and that the protocols pertaining to physical distancing and infection prevention, including 30-minute observation period, cannot be followed.
The ministry, through its under secretary Satyendra Singh, filed an affidavit in reply to a PIL filed by Mumbai-based lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari seeking directions to the Centre, the Maharashtra government and the BMC to provide door-to-door vaccination facility for people over 75 years of age, the disabled and the bedridden.
The ministry said that on the requests by various state governments, more centres have been approved to be used as Covid-19 Vaccination Centres (CVC) for special consideration of senior citizens.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni on April 9 had asked the Centre and state government to file an affidavit on vaccination protocols and whether senior citizens can avail of a door-to-door drive.
After the central government lawyer on April 9 submitted that the government did not have any policy for door-to-door vaccination, the court had asked it to state the reasons for the same.
Enumerating the reasons, the MoHFW affidavit stated that in case of Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI), there might be a delay in reaching the health facility and managing that case may not be as per requirement. Moreover, it said that it might be challenging to ensure that the beneficiary is under observation for at least 30 minutes after vaccination.
The ministry said that another reason was high vaccine wastage due to increased time going from door to door, taking more time for reaching out to reach the beneficiary.
Responding to the court’s query as to whether there is a mandatory requirement of ICU for administration of vaccine, the MoHFW stated, “The occurrence of serious/severe AEFI is very rare, which may not necessarily require admission into ICU. Hence, there is no such requirement for an ICU for administration of vaccines.”
The HC is likely to hear the PIL this week.
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