No home vaccination for elderly: HC asks Centre to rethink policy | India News – Times of India


MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday asked the Centre to have a “relook” at its stand on door-to-door vaccination for the elderly and bed-ridden and to consider the issue by May 6, the next date of hearing.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni said it would be a “choice between the devil and the deep sea” for the elderly when the Centre’s counsel said managing any adverse event following immunization (AEFI) may pose a challenge since many of those who are bed-ridden or very advanced in age may have some other existing health conditions or co-morbidities.
“If some complication develops during a home vaccination, we may not be able to manage it,” said additional solicitor general Anil Singh citing it as a reason door-step jabs for the elderly was currently not an option.
“You say you cannot go to the house since they are bed-ridden and it may be difficult to manage complication should it arise … if they cannot move out and go to the Covid Vaccine Centre (CVC) to get vaccinated, they are left to the mercy of the diseases. Some via media (middle way) has to be arrived at by you (the Centre),” the court said.
The Centre had cited “wastage” and contamination of vaccines among the reasons against home shots as well as lack of social distancing and challenges to maintain protocol.
The HC then asked the Centre to furnish a study which says that vaccines won’t be wasted if kept in a refrigerator in an ambulance.
“We expected a better affidavit with facts and figures,” it said, asking if the challenge to maintain “physical distancing” or controlling infection are reasons due to which old people must be denied (vaccination).
The Centre agreed with the court that the grounds of “physical distancing” mentioned in its affidavit was not appropriate.
To a query from the court, state advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said despite restriction kicking in on movement of people, if a person is registered for vaccine doses and has “an intimation on his cell phone” he will be permitted to travel for such purpose to a CVC.
The PIL filed by two Mumbai-based lawyers sought home shots for senior citizens, specially-abled along with a special helpline to for booking a slot.
To another query from the the HC, the state said it has vaccine stock for 3-4 days and the AG said it would keep getting “regularly replenished” when the bench asked how it would deal with the situation when the immunisation drive opens up for all those aged above 18 from May 1.
“it is a very alarming situation,” the court said.
It also expressed concern over the plight of the elderly and bed-ridden, asking, “Can you leave the old people to die?”
The bench also suggested that the state should make available “centre-wise information” on vaccine stock.

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