The Bombay High Court on Wednesday said when COVID-19 vaccination drives are now being held in several housing societies, why authorities cannot take a step further and go to the homes of senior citizens, specially- abled and bed-ridden people to inoculate them.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking a direction to the Union and state governments to start door-to-door vaccination for senior citizens above the age of 75, specially-abled, bed-ridden and wheelchair-bound people. The petition said such people would not be in a position to step out of their homes and travel to vaccination centres.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni on Wednesday noted that several housing societies are now tying-up with private hospitals and holding vaccination drives in the society premises itself.
“If this is being done, then you (government and other authorities) can take a step further and go to the homes of such people (who are not able to go to vaccination centres),” Chief Justice Datta said. Kapadia on Wednesday told the court though the Centre’s policy says door-to-door vaccination was not possible, the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (in neighbouring Palghar district) has started it in its area.
The court had last month directed chairman of the ‘National Expert Group for Vaccine Administration of COVID-19’ (NEGVAC) set up by the Centre to consider the issue of introducing the door-to-door vaccination drive. On Wednesday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the Centre, sought further time following which the court posted the matter for next hearing on June 8. Singh told the HC that by July-end, the availability of vaccines, both Covishield and Covaxin, will increase.
“Currently, there are 90 lakh Covaxin doses available. By the end of July, the number will increase to 5.5 crore. Similarly, the supply of Covishield vaccine will also increase to approximately two crore each month by July,” he said.
The court then asked Singh by when does the Union government expect the entire population of the country to be administered the first dose of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine. Singh said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said it would be done by December 2021