Door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination drive not feasible: Centre tells Bombay High Court

Narsi BenwalUpdated: Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 09:34 PM IST
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Bhushan Koyande/FPJ Photo

Mumbai: The door-to-door vaccination drive won't be feasible due to numerous reasons especially that there would not be a hospital nearby the homes of the beneficiaries and also the chances of high wastage. This was the stand of the Union government before the Bombay High Court while it opposed the PIL seeking door-to-door inoculation drive for the senior citizens and the physically disabled citizens, including the bedridden.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare filed an affidavit before a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni, which is seized with a PIL seeking door-to-door vaccination. The PIL filed by advocate Dhruti Kapadia stated that the senior citizens and even the physically disabled would find it difficult to reach to the vaccination centers and would also need assistance to register online for getting their jabs.

In an earlier hearing, the bench had ordered the Union health ministry to spell it's stand on this issue.

Responding to the PIL, the ministry in it's affidavit said, "In case of Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI), there might be a delay in reaching the health facility and managing that case may not be as per requirement."

"There might be challenges to ensure that beneficiary of the vaccination is under observation for at least 30 minutes after vaccination," the ministry said, corroborating the contention of the BMC that there is a need to have an ICU at the vaccination site, so as to observe the beneficiary closely to ensure s/he do not have any serious side effect after getting the jab.

Another reason, the ministry has cited against door-to-door inoculation is about the chances of large-scale wastage of the vaccines.

"The vaccine to be administered might be placed in and out of the 'vaccine carrier' for each vaccination thereby increasing the chances of contamination and exposure beyond recommended temperature. This could in turn affect the vaccine efficacy and cause AEFIs which will be reduce the confidence in the vaccines," the affidavit stated.

"Due to increase in time to reach beneficiaries, there could be an increase in wastage of vaccines," the affidavit added.

The affidavit further stated that it might not be possible to follow the protocols for physical distancing and infection prevention and control during the door to door campaigning.

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