After repeated follow-up from the jail authorities to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Arthur road i.e Mumbai Central Jail has got its independent vaccination centre inside jail on Tuesday, June 1.
On its first day, around 169 inmates above the age of 45 were vaccinated inside the jail. All the 169 inmates were those who didn't have identification proof like Aadhar card which was mandatory for the vaccination. They were vaccinated on the basis of identity cards inside the jail.
On May 28, Friday, FPJ in a report 'Jailhouse Vax: authorities request for inoculation centres' explained how this would eliminate the need for high-security prisoners having to travel outside and will also curb the threat of infection within jails.
The Mumbai Central Jail had 2,800 inmates, including 19 convicts. Only 242 under-trials i.e less than 10% of inmates are vaccinated in the last two months. As per the availability they were taken to Kasturba hospital and vaccinated. "The 242 undertrials were above the 45 years age and had documents like Aadhar card to get vaccinated. While the 169, were kept waiting due to unavailability of documents," said an official from the prison.
Seeing the seriousness of the vaccination NB. Vayachal, Superintendent of Arthur Road Jail, kept writing to the Municipal Commissioner of BMC demanding for the centre. "Inmates safety was our priority and getting an independent centre inside the jail will help the burden of taking the inmates out and arranging additional manpower. Also it eliminates the threat of spreading the virus," added Vayachal who claims it was all possible with the guidance of Sunil Ramanand, additional director general, prison and Dr Cherling dorje, inspector general, Dr Chhering Dorje who continuously took follow up to get it done at the earliest.
Vayachal added, "The BMC on the very first day gave 200 vaccination doses. We had 169 inmates above the 45 years category. So we vaccinated them and returned the remaining doses. There was a proper team for the vaccination drive including two doctors from jail, one from the BMC and one doctor and three nurses from Mumbai mission who helped the BMC in the vaccination drive. As per the requirement from BMC, we prepared an isolation ward inside the jail. It was used by the inmates for rest up to 20 to 30 minutes after vaccination," added Vayachal.
The Arthur road jail authorities claimed on Tuesday that the figure of positive patients was zero. If the BMC speeds up the vaccination drive for the remaining inmates with age groups from 18 to 44 years, it will help curb the spread of virus inside jail.
The prison officer said it was all possible with the help of Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health) Suresh Kakani who took efforts to arrange the independent centre at the earliest.