Mumbai: BMC plans to set up vax booths at dialysis centres to boost drive

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now planning to set up vaccine booths at the dialysis centres across the city to boost the vaccination drive. However, the civic body will have to inspect all the centres to ensure they are capable of holding immunisation drives.

Meanwhile, the state COVID-19 task force has also written to the Centre seeking permission to bring vaccines at home for those who are bed-ridden and have severe health conditions or stay in old age homes. Experts believe it is a good move as it will benefit most of the beneficiaries.

This comes after the central government directed all the state government to start the third phase of vaccination drives at those hospitals that are empanelled under PMAJ and CHGS scheme. After this, from March 1, six hospitals across the state had started vaccinating senior citizens and individuals between 45 and 59 years.

Senior officials from the civic health department said currently there are more than 50 vaccination centres across the city for the drive. About 60 per cent of beneficiaries including healthcare and frontline workers, senior citizens and individuals between 45 and 59 years of age have been inoculated so far. But starting immunisation drives at the dialysis centres will be difficult as most of the centres do not have adequate space and manpower due to which they have to think twice before giving a nod.

“For now we are not considering the dialysis centres for the mass immunisation drive as there are criteria which include vaccine storage facilities, space, manpower and other factors which need to be inspected before giving the permission. However we have directed our respective officials to conduct an inspection of dialysis centres and submit a report following which decision will be taken,” he said.

Dr Rahul Pandit, Director-Critical Care, Fortis Hospitals, Mumbai and member of the state Covid-19 task force said that vaccinating the elderly who are homebound, would be a good idea.

“People in old-age homes or care homes are at high risk and vulnerable populations. For instance, in Australia, the authorities started vaccinating the population at old-age homes first. This set of the population is vulnerable. They may not be able to make the trip to a vaccination centre and are usually dependent on their caregivers at the old age homes to make the arrangements," he said.

“This set of the population may also not have a family, may have disabilities, which could compound their difficulty in getting a vaccine. These high mortality and high vulnerability groups are dependent on their caregivers who may themselves not be vaccinated," Dr Pandit added.

Dr Deepak Baid, President, Association of Medical Consultants said the civic body should think of starting vaccine centres at the dialysis centres if they are fitting in the criteria. Moreover, it will reduce some pressure as the patients who are visiting the dialysis centres will get the vaccine at the same place. “It’s a good thought of starting vaccine booths at dialysis centres but before then it should be inspected based on the criteria decided by the state government,” he said.

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