Mumbai: In an attempt to make the Covid vaccination drive smooth and hassle-free for all age groups in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is considering the idea of implementing a system under which people could be directed to go to centres located in the municipal ward in which they reside, rather than vaccine-centre hopping across the city or to other districts for the purpose. This, sources said, is among several ideas the BMC is mulling at this stage, but the details of implementation are yet to be thrashed out.
Civic officials said their main aim was to segregate the population of each ward so that people wouldn’t have to visit vaccine centres far from their place. Plans to allow walk-ins for a limited number of beneficiaries in the 18-44 years age group are also afoot.
This comes after most beneficiaries complained that they were having to run from pillar to post to get vaccinated and despite that, they were unsuccessful in doing so.
Civic officials said, on condition of anonymity, that there were discussions under way to make the vaccination drive hassle-free, to ensure that Mumbai’s population is vaccinated in greater numbers. But the top priority is to provide second doses to beneficiaries in the 45-plus age group, while ensuring that adults 18-plus get their first shot.
“There are many ideas in the pipeline which need to be studied thoroughly and discussed with experts before implementation. These measures will save the time and energy of citizens. We are considering that beneficiaries should get their jabs in their ward of residence instead of heading to another ward and returning emptyhanded,” a senior civic official said.
The official added that the idea would have to be first discussed with the BMC commissioner before rollout. For now, there are 136 covid vaccine centres, with more being set up across the city, considering the population density. There are also plans to start allowing walk-ins for registered beneficiaries between 18 and 44 years of age.
“We have been receiving many complaints on our Twitter handle about people failing to get a vaccine despite trying to do so for three days in a row. We are planning to allow walk-ins at the vaccine centres for those who have failed to do so. Presently, we are only considering all aspects to make the vaccination drive smoother, as there continues to be a huge shortage of vaccines,” the official added.
Health experts have welcomed these ideas, saying the BMC should start implementing them, instead of merely considering them. Ensuring that beneficiaries only go to vaccine centres in their ward of residence will not only reduce chaos at the centres but will also help vaccinate everyone and achieve their target. “The civic body should implement these ideas with immediate effect so that they can cover large sections of the population, considering the third wave is likely to hit in July. Moreover, beneficiaries will get the vaccine on time and they will not have to run from pillar to post,” said Abhijeet More, co-convener, Jan Arogya Abhiyaan.