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No explicit prohibition by the centre on states for door-to-door immunisation: Bombay High Court.

MoHFW had responded to say that they have repeatedly advised States to operationalize ‘Near to Home COVID Vaccination Centres’ (NHCVCs) for the needy citizens in Community Centres, Resident Welfare Association centers/offices, housing societies, colonies, panchayat Ghar/offices, school and college buildings, old age homes, etc. in regard to which SOP has been issued on May 27, 2021.

Socio Legal Corp

The division bench of CJ Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni of Bombay HC observed that there is no explicit prohibition by the center on states to provide door-to-door vaccination for elderly and disabled citizens, who would be unable to visit immunization centres.

The Bench while hearing the PIL (Dhruti Kapadia & Ors. Vs. UOI) by two advocates Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari asked ASG Anil Singh if the central Government had attempted to stop states like Kerala and J&K that gave already started door-to-door vaccination.

Mr Singh responded that the centre’s communications to states regarding door-to-door immunization were merely guidelines/advisories that are expected to be followed by the states.

The Centre filed an affidavit last week, giving a five-pointer on why door-to-door vaccination was not feasible and why ‘near-to-door vaccination’ was a more appropriate policy.

MoHFW had responded to say that they have repeatedly advised States to operationalize ‘Near to Home COVID Vaccination Centres’ (NHCVCs) for the needy citizens in Community Centres, Resident Welfare Association centers/offices, housing societies, colonies, panchayat Ghar/offices, school and college buildings, old age homes, etc. in regard to which SOP has been issued on May 27, 2021.

The letter from MoHFW to the Municipal Commissioner further states that as per the ‘National Experts Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19’ (NEGVAC), had advised against door-to-door vaccination, and therefore the MCGM should wait for further guidelines.

However, the PIL petitioner cited orders of different High Courts and statements of authorities directing the states to start door-to-door inoculation drive. These include orders of Uttarakhand HC, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope’s statement on allowing home inoculation, also Bikaner, in Rajasthan became the first city in India to start door-to-door COVID vaccination for adults aged 45 years and above.

“We accordingly adjourn the proceedings to Tuesday next (June 22, 2021), to enable the State Government to take an appropriate decision on the issue of door-to-door vaccination of the elderly and disabled. the bench said in its order.

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