Updated: July 27, 2021 1:00:54 pm
The shortage of Covid-19 vaccines has halted Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s (PCMC) ambitious pilot project for vaccination in slums. Senior corporator and former standing committee chairman Seema Salve has blamed the PCMC administration for failing to ensure the availability of vaccines.
“The civic administration is responsible for ensuring vaccine availability but they have failed to do so. When I asked the officers, they said they are not getting vaccines to give out. On the other hand, private hospitals are able to continue their drive. There is a complete lack of transparency about how the civic bodies in Pune division are allocated vaccines. The civic chief is not able to answer our questions,” she said.
The sprawling slum of Khandevasti was earlier chosen by the PCMC to pilot the special project to vaccinate slum-dwellers right at their doorstep. Most of the residents of the slums are daily wagers and their access to vaccines was limited before the drive.
Before the drive, Salve and officials had even gone door to door to convince people to take the vaccine. “The civic body tags these people as super-spreaders but does not make any efforts to vaccinate them,” she had said.
Thanks to the outreach efforts, almost 80 per cent of slum-dwellers at Khandevasti got vaccinated at their doorsteps. After the success of the pilot scheme, two other slums — Balaji Nagar (which is the largest slum in PCMC) and Ganesh Nagar — were selected for similar drives. The community halls of these slums were selected as vaccination centres. The heavy rains of the past two weeks coupled with the vaccine shortage hampered the vaccination programme in these slums.
“The demand for vaccines is high in government centres. People line up since 5 am but they are not getting vaccinated,” Seema Salve said.
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