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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Home vaccination for bedridden and immobile people to start in Mumbai from Aug 1, Maharashtra govt tells HC

As of July 19, 3,505 persons have expressed interest to be vaccinated at home within the BMC area. The state government has 'risen to the occasion', said the Bombay High Court.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: July 21, 2021 8:51:17 am
State government has taken necessary decision to help bedridden and immobile people, says Bombay High Court. (Representational)

The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) would roll out Covid-19 vaccination at homes for bedridden and immobile persons in Mumbai from Aug 1. The court appreciated the move and said the state government had ‘risen to the occasion’ and there was ‘some light at the end of the tunnel’.

The court added that while the central government ‘did not rise to the occasion’ as it had not complied with requests for door-to-door vaccination policy earlier and instead retained the ‘near-to-home’ policy, the state government had taken necessary decisions for the benefit of the bedridden and immobile persons.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni heard a PIL by city-based lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari giving directions to the Centre, State and BMC to provide a door-to-door vaccination facility to aged and bed-ridden people.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and advocate Akshay Shinde representing the Maharashtra government submitted that the state had come up with a draft policy for door-to-door vaccination of needy persons. As of July 19, nearly 17,288 bedridden and immobile persons who could get the jab at their residence were identified across Maharashtra, the state government submitted.

Kumbhakoni submitted the draft policy wherein physically disabled, wheelchair-bound persons, patients on stretchers, patients who were immune-compromised and those on chemotherapy or terminally ill patients who could not be transported safely were identified as eligible for receiving vaccination at home.

Kumbhakoni further informed the court that pursuant to notices published in newspapers as well as website notices, as of July 19, 3,505 persons expressed their interest in being vaccinated at home within the BMC area and a decision was taken to start vaccinating such persons from August 1 strictly in consonance with policy guidelines which are framed by state.

Kumbhakoni said that the draft policy would be soon finalised without major modifications. He added that the state government would place on record a status report about vaccination of eligible persons before the court during the next hearing.

Senior Counsel Anil Sakhare for BMC said that the civic authority would enable free-of-cost vaccination through these beneficiaries starting from Aug 1 and the policy was required for private hospitals too as they could also provide facilities of home vaccination now.

Advocate Dhruti Kapadia welcomed the move by the state government and submitted that old citizens unable to visit centres could also be considered to be added to the list of eligible persons and that only those who can apply through the online medium would benefit from the said initiative and the government should widen the scope of access.

“Let there be some start,” the bench said.

After hearing submissions, the bench noted in the order, “The Centre did not rise to the occasion. However, we record our satisfaction that the State has risen to the occasion and today we find some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Seeking status report from the authorities by next hearing on Aug 6, the bench said, “We hope and trust that State and the municipal corporation shall leave no stone unturned to ensure that eligible bedridden and immobile individuals would also have the benefit of Covid vaccination in the manner as proposed by the state.”

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