Maharashtra to finalize door-to-door vaccination policy in a week
(Sourced from PTI)
The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that it will finalize within a week its policy on starting door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination drives for the elderly, disabled persons, and those who are bedridden and unable to visit the inoculation centers. The state's counsel, Geeta Shastri, submitted a draft policy before a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni.
The state had constituted a special task force comprising experts and stakeholders to come up with such a policy. While details of the policy could not be made public yet, the same will be finalized within a week and submitted before the court, Shastri said. The bench accepted Shastri's submissions. It was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Dhruti Kapadia in the mentioned matter.
During a previous hearing, the High Court observed that the Centre had not imposed any prohibition on states from carrying out door-to-door vaccination for the elderly and disabled citizens. It had also said the Union government's policy or the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on vaccination that did not provide for door-to-door drives was merely an advisory.
The bench said, "Prima facie, we are of the opinion that the task force is proceeding in the right direction. We, however, leave it to the task force to incorporate such measures which are beneficial for the health of the elderly and disabled citizens."
The bench also directed the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to submit municipal ward-wise details of vaccines administered to the mentally ill and homeless people in the city. The direction came on another PIL filed by lawyer Sarosh Bharucha, seeking the court's intervention for ensuring greater access of vaccines to citizens. The state and municipal authorities should respond by next week.
Bharucha pointed out that the existing state guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination did not take into account covering persons who were mentally ill and those without a legal guardian, and therefore, not in a position to give informed consent for receiving the vaccine. High Court mentioned that these people are the state's responsibility. The court will hear the above PILs on June 29.