602 bed-ridden people given COVID-19 vaccine at home in Mumbai: BMC tells HC

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The city civic body informed the Bombay High Court on Thursday that 4,715 bed-ridden people here have so far registered for home vaccination against COVID-19 and out of them, 602 people have been administered the jabs at their residences.

The only hurdle that the people are facing is the requirement of a fitness certificate from a medical expert, Anil Sakhare, the counsel for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) told a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni. The BMC started the home vaccination drive for bed-ridden people on July 30. Sakhare told the court that till August 4, the civic body received applications from 4,715 bed-ridden people for registering themselves for the home vaccination.

”Till Wednesday, 602 bed-ridden people have been vaccinated at their homes. A two-member team comprising a doctor and a nurse visits the homes of the registered people along with an ambulance and the vaccine is administered,” he said. Sakhare said the only hurdle people are facing is the requirement of a fitness certificate from a doctor stating the person who has to be vaccinated shall remain bed-ridden or immobile for the next six months and that the person is fit to receive the jab.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, appearing for the state government, submitted to the court the government’s policy for ‘COVID-19 vaccination for the bed-ridden and immobile persons’. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocates Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking a direction to the Union and the state governments to start door-to-door vaccination drive for senior citizens above the age of 75 years, specially-abled people and those who are bed-ridden or wheelchair-bound.

The petition said these people would not be in a position to go to the vaccination centres. The Centre had said it would not be in a position to start the drive, but the state government later agreed to initiate the home vaccination campaign in Mumbai from August 1. On Thursday, Kapadia pointed out to the court certain changes that can be made to the state government’s policy with regard to the need of a fitness certificate and the mandatory requirement to submit an identity card. The bench said the petitioner could forward her suggestions to the state government for consideration.

“A beginning has been made. Let it continue. There would be some teething problems here and there. It can be taken care of,” the court said. The court directed the BMC to file an affidavit by August 12 on the number of bed-ridden individuals vaccinated. Kapadia also pointed out to the court that the BMC has roped in an NGO for help in its drive. Sakhare said the help of NGOs was being taken for the registration of the bed-ridden people.

The court said the BMC’s affidavit shall also indicate the role of NGOs in the home vaccination drive. As per the state government’s policy, bed-ridden or immobile people can register themselves for home vaccination through the CoWIN portal. ”Presently, only the Covaxin vaccine is being used for home vaccination. Planning of home vaccination will be subject to the availability of vaccine (Covaxin) from the Government of India as only this vaccine has been presently cleared by the State Task Force,” according to the policy.

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