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Can’t Leave The Old To Die, Says Bombay High Court On Door To Door Vaccination

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India has widened the vaccination drive to include those above 18 from May 1 (AFP)

Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court has criticised the centre’s reply to it listing the reasons for not allowing a door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination drive. The court told the centre to see if people can be vaccinated at home, especially the elderly, amid the raging second wave of the pandemic that has taken thousands of lives.

The court was hearing a petition filed by lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking a direction to the centre to allow home vaccination. The municipal agency in Mumbai has also asked for this facility to be made available as soon as possible.

“There needs to be a solution. You can’t leave old people like this. It’s like choosing between the devil and the deep sea. You have ICU in an ambulance, you can definitely manage a refrigerator (for home vaccination),” a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni said.

“We expected a better affidavit from the centre. This needs a relook by your experts…When I think of my mother, the last six years of her life she was bedridden. If she would have lived in Covid times, what would she have done?” the Chief Justice said. “You can’t leave the old to die.”

Among the reasons cited by the centre on why door-to-door vaccination drive is not feasible were chances of vaccine wastage, contamination, and inability to observe patients after inoculation.

The centre’s affidavit opposing the petition for home vaccination was filed by Health Ministry Undersecretary Satyendra Singh.

In particular, the petition by the two lawyers sought door-to-door vaccination for people above 75, differently-abled and those who are bedridden.

“Both children and elderly people are not in a position to function independently, so we have to take care of them,” Justice Kulkarni said.

The court cited the examples of Israel where a majority of the population has been vaccinated, and Los Angeles in the US where people are being vaccinated while sitting in their cars.

“They do not even have to go into the vaccine centre. We also need to advance ourselves,” Justice Kulkarni said, news agency PTI reported.

India has expanded the vaccination drive to include those above 18 from May 1. The registration for this category will open from April 28. The inoculation process and documents to be submitted to get the vaccine remains the same.

The surge in Covid cases in recent weeks have led to what is now being called a deadlier second wave of the pandemic. Social media is full of stories of desperate people trying to find oxygen or a hospital bed for their friends and family.