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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Vaccinating bedridden persons at home: Won’t seek Centre’s nod, will start drive on trial from Pune district, Maharashtra tells HC

It added that the experiment would start on Wednesday itself by inviting emails from interested persons on an dedicated email ID, announced publicly through print and electronic media.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: July 1, 2021 4:13:06 am
Covaxin, Covid-19A woman gets vaccinated in Mumbai on Tuesday. (Express Photo By Ganesh Shirsekar)

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that it will start a home vaccination drive for bedridden and immobile people on an experimental basis, starting with Pune district.

It added that the experiment would start on Wednesday itself by inviting emails from interested persons on an dedicated email ID, announced publicly through print and electronic media.

A division bench of Chief Justice (CJ) Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Mumbai-based lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking directions for the Centre, Maharashtra and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to provide door-to-door vaccination facility to those aged over 75, the specially-abled and the bedridden.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told HC that the state would not seek Centre’s approval for starting the drive and hold it on a “trial and error” basis.

“We have selected Pune district to start with because of the success of previous experiments of drives organised for students going abroad and the size of the district. It is neither too large nor too small.

We will invite suggestions from people and there will be additional conditions that are yet to be finalised,” Kumbhakoni said.

To this, CJ Datta said, “We hope and trust that you will not insist on the condition that a doctor will have to certify that a beneficiary is not likely to have AEFI (adverse event following immunisation). How can doctors do that? Who will go out of their way to certify? Do not insist on such impracticable conditions.”

The HC, referring to news reports on vaccination in Tripura, including one from The Indian Express, said: “There is a news report about the extent of vaccination in Tripura. Over 80 per cent (people) have been vaccinated there. There is another report on vaccinations being held on a boat. Is AEFI a serious problem? A 99-year-old woman was vaccinated in a far-off district as per report. Tripura does not have mega facilities. It is a small state in a hilly region. Ask your (state) officers to draw inspiration from this.”

The HC will hear the matter next on Thursday. It asked the chairperson of the state Covid-19 task force to remain present for the hearing.

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