On Tuesday evening, members of as many as 61 citizen's groups, Advanced Locality Management (ALM) bodies and residential organisations of the western suburbs held a video conference with state Environment Minister and Mumbai Guardian Minister (suburbs) Aaditya Thackeray to discuss various prospects of holding private vaccination drives at housing society premises and neighbourhoods.
Citizens have said that many are finding it difficult to pre-register themselves on the Co-WIN portal. The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), frequently changing its rules and regulations regarding the vaccination policy, has also left them confused.
As a result, citizens are now looking at arranging vaccination drives in their own society premises.
Madhu Poplai, general secretary of Pali Hill Residents Association, said that during the meeting, Thackeray agreed that conducting and managing vaccination camps in housing societies would be more convenient. "Thackeray has said that soon BMC will arrange vans that will visit societies for the purpose of vaccinating the residents," Poplai told the Free Press Journal.
"In the meeting, he also asked societies to form their own working committee, which would include youngsters, to help senior citizens in registering themselves for the drive," Poplai said. Furthermore, she added, all the societies will frame policies and will start working with hospitals to arrange vaccination camps at the societies.
Meanwhile, members of citizen groups have also expressed their confidence in the civic body’s new set of SOPs on arranging vaccination drives in societies. They believe that, now that they are aware of the guidelines, they can easily move ahead with private vaccination drives.
Dhaval Shah, founder and spokesperson of Lokhandwala Andheri Citizen's Association (LOCA) said, "Now, we have a clear set of rules and regulations. Once there is adequate supply of vaccines, we will be organising vaccination camps, adhering to the SOPs,"
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner and incharge of public health in BMC, said that each society will have to pay for the doses if they organise vaccination drives at their society. "The societies will have to partner with private hospitals and healthcare centres, which will provide the vaccines and all the logistics and will charge for the services in return," Kakani said.