Maharashtra’s call for door-to-door vaccination for Covid might not be met for now, the Centre signalled today. The health ministry, though, indicated that it has received no formal request yet from the state, which is seeing the highest numbers in the emergent second wave of the infection.
Citing logistical issues, including “adverse events” the health secretary said the vaccine is for adults, “distinct from a universal immunisation programme where we have decades of experience”.
“What we are dealing with is not only adult vaccination but also a vaccination where there may be adverse events following vaccination. For which, you need to keep a person under watch for 30 minutes,” he pointed out.
The health secretary, however, said, “Till date, we have not received any specific update about what you call door to door vaccination”.
Earlier today, Brihanmumbai Corporation chief Iqbal Chahal told reporters, “We requested state to in turn request the Centre to allow us to do door-to-door vaccination”.
“When the Centre’s team had visited 10 days ago, I had requested them to allow us to go door to door, so we can go on vaccination drive in big way,” he said, adding the request was also made during the Centre’s video conference with the states earlier this month.
The clarification came amid the government’s insistence on “saturation” vaccination in districts that are showing a surge.
At the ministry briefing this evening, VK Paul, the chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, spoke of the importance of focusing on priority age groups.
Underscoring that “any complacency at this stage, and at any level, will have heavy costs,” the Centre wrote to Chief Secretaries today. “All districts with high case load and fast growth of cases must ensure 100% saturation vaccination of the priority age group of 45 year and above, in the coming two weeks,” the Centre wrote.
Each district, irrespective of whether it is seeing a surge now, should prepare an action plan with clear timelines and responsibilities, the letter added.