Bombay HC asks the Centre to seek direction from NEGVAC on policy for door-to-door vaccination

The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Central Government to seek direction from the NEGVAC (National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19) on policy about the door-to-door vaccination for those elderly and disabled who can’t step out, with care and compassion it deserves.

The division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni in an oral order has given the centre time till June 2 to seek clarity from the NEGVAC on the policy of door-to-door vaccine. The court has posted the hearing on the matter on June 2.

“If the NEGVAC decides favourably to start the door-to-door drive, then the same shall be implemented without waiting for the court’s order,” observed the court.

Before that, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, while appearing for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) assured the court that NEGVAC will take a decision on policy for the door-to-door vaccination policy for the needy people.

The court’s direction came in public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a lawyer–Dhruti Kapadia –seeking a direction to the Centre and the state government of Maharashtra and BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to provide door-to-door vaccination facility for senior citizens above the age of 75, for specially-abled persons, and also for those who are bed-ridden or wheelchair-bound.

So far, the central government has said in its affidavit that protocols pertaining to physical distancing and a 30-minute observation period after the vaccine shot cannot be followed in a door-to-door vaccination drive.

Advocate Kapadia argued in the case that, in the entire policy or the guideline the government has not described how they are going to vaccinated bedridden people.

The court also observed that in the UK, the same Covishield vaccine is being used and a door-to-door vaccination drive has been undertaken there.

“Where is the data which says that the person has suffered because of vaccination. You are making elderly people choose between the devil and the deep sea,” asked the court to the government. “Is there any data that can say that how many people have developed complications after getting the vaccination? Now, a substantial number of people in the country have got the vaccine. The petitioner has given data about the same vaccine which was given in the UK and there was a policy of door-to-door vaccination drive.”

Meanwhile, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also informed the court that it is willing to implement the door-to-door vaccination drive if the central government comes out with a policy for the same and issues guideline to that effect.

During the course of the arguments, Kapadia also argued that Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) had successfully initiated a door-to-door vaccination drive in Odisha.

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