Mumbai: Next up for mass vaccination: market vendors

The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to devise a plan to inoculate another group of potential super-spreaders – the licensed vendors across the city. There are 92 BMC-authorised markets in Mumbai, with nearly 17,000 vendors. The civic body has also been working on inoculating fruit and vegetable vendors, auto-taxi drivers, hawkers, delivery executives, restaurant staff and daily-wage workers, among others.

The scheme for vaccinating licensed vendors is being worked out with the help of the BMC’s public health department in all 24 administrative ward offices. Though a mechanism will soon be devised to start the process, it will be similar to the earlier model of testing such individuals on priority. Potential super-spreaders are people who come face-to-face with multiple other people owing to their profession.

The inoculation plan for vendors is expected to include walk-in registration and centres near these markets. Civic officials, however, are deliberating on whether to include those in the 18-30 age group, as currently only potential super-spreaders over 30 are allowed by the state government.

The idea to start vaccinating vendors in civic-run markets was mooted by assistant municipal commissioner of markets, Mridula Ande. She had written to the executive health officer of the BMC public health department. Ande said, “In a campaign where we tested vendors, many tested positive. They come into contact with customers every day. The risks are clear as to how this might lead to the spread of the virus; and they themselves are at risk, too.” She added that centres near these markets can facilitate these drives.

Dr Mangala Gomare, the executive health officer of the BMC’s public health department, said once this set is vaccinated, a larger chunk will be out of the risk belt. “We are working on various options and are deliberating on the age group,” she said.

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Free Press Journal