The Centre on Tuesday denied having received any request to conduct door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, "Till date, the Centre has not received any particular request from the state (Maharashtra) government about such an exercise."
The Union Health Ministry's denial comes after reports emerged that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has written a letter to the Centre requesting it to allow conducting door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination drive for the elderly and differently-abled who are unable to move and travel long distances.
Meanwhile, even if such an order comes through, there are apprehensions regarding door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination in the country. For the uninitiated, under Universal Immunization Programme, which is now more than three decades old in India, no injectable vaccine is administered through any door-to-door campaign. Only oral polio vaccine has been provided through door-to-door strategy (this too is restricted to ‘Mop-up rounds’).
Here are the reasons as to why a door-to-door campaign is discouraged with injectable vaccine and hence shouldn’t be done for COVID-19:
1. In case of any Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI), case management may not be proper and there will be delay in reaching health facility.
2. Challenges in maintaining protocol of observation of beneficiary for 30 minutes after vaccination.
3. The vaccine will be placed in and out of the Vaccine Carrier for each vaccination thereby increasing chances of contamination and exposure beyond recommended temperature which could affect vaccine efficacy and cause Adverse Events Following Immunization which will be detrimental to vaccine confidence and programme performance.
4. There will be high vaccine wastage due to increased time going from door-to-door and will take more time for reaching out to each beneficiary.
5. Following protocols for Physical Distancing and Infection Prevention and Control might not be possible during door-to-door campaign.
Besides, the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 6.24 crore with 12,94,979 jabs being given on Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry said.
A total of 6,24,08,333 vaccine doses have been given till 7 pm on Tuesday, according to a provisional report.
These include 82,00,007 healthcare workers (HCWs) who have taken the first dose and 52,07,368 HCWs who have taken the second dose, 90,08,905 frontline workers (FLWs) who have received the first dose, 37,70,603 FLWs who have taken the second dose.
In addition, 2,90,20,989 beneficiaries more than 60 years old received the first dose and 36,899 in the same age bracket got the second dose as well.
As many as 71,58,657 beneficiaries aged 45 to 60 with specific co-morbidities were administered the first dose, while 4,905 people in this category received the second dose as well.
Total 12,94,979 vaccine doses were given till 7 pm on Tuesday, the seventy-fourth day of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, the ministry said.
(With PTI inputs)