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COVID-19: Bombay HC Asks Centre To Rethink Policy On Not Allowing Door-to-door Vaccination

The Bombay High Court on Thursday urged the Centre to rethink its stance on not allowing door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination of the elderly and disabled citizens.

COVID-19

PTI


The Bombay High Court on Thursday urged the Centre to rethink its stance on not allowing door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination of the elderly and disabled persons. A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni was hearing a plea seeking door-to-door vaccination for such citizens. But, the Union government replied in an affidavit that such a policy does not exist because of 5 specific reasons.

  • In case of any Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI), case management may not be proper and there will be a delay in reaching the health facility
  • Challenges in maintaining protocol of observation of beneficiary for 30 minutes after vaccination
  • The vaccine will be placed in and out of the Vaccine Carrier for each vaccination thereby increasing chances of contamination and exposure beyond the recommended temperature which could affect vaccine efficacy and cause AEFI
  • High vaccine wastage due to increased time going from door to door
  • Following protocols for physical distancing and infection prevention and control might not be possible during door to door campaign

'Arbitrary & unreasonable policy'

However, the bench stated that such people are being asked to choose between the devil and the deep sea. It observed, "A policy
which leads to such conclusion has to be viewed as arbitrary and unreasonable, for the elderly citizens are entitled to the protection of Article 21 of the Constitution of India as much as the young and abled-bodied citizenry of the country". Weighing in on the Centre's fear regarding contamination, the court highlighted that new generation ambulances with ICU facilities are available now. A total of 1,19,66,150 persons have been inoculated in Maharashtra till now, 17,07,683 of them have received the second dose of the vaccine too. 

The HC noted in its order, "If indeed proper temperature control measures are taken and personnel well trained to vaccinate together with the vaccine are made to travel in appropriate vehicles for reaching duly identified elderly and disabled citizens, who could benefit by reason of such vaccination, we see no reason as to why this particular reason could hinder adoption of a door-to-door vaccination policy." "The respondent no.1 has not explained as to how it would not be possible to maintain physical distancing and infection prevention control measures if a door-to-door vaccination campaign is introduced," it added. When Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh assured the court that the Centre will rethink its stance, the matter was adjourned to May 6.

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