The Centre on Thursay, September 23, announced that differently-abled people, senior citizens and those with restricted or limited mobility across India will soon be administered the COVID vaccine at home if they are unable to go to vaccine centres.
Recently, the government issued guidelines for arranging for vaccination centres nearest to the disabled and elderly known as 'Near-to-Home' covid vaccination centre (NHCVC) for elderly and differently-abled citizens. But now vaccination services will be provided at the doorstep of those with special needs.
"I am pleased to inform that the government has made a provision wherein those with restricted mobility, who cannot step out of their house to get vaccinated, such as those who are differently-abled, elderly or those with some special needs, will be administered vaccine shots at home under the supervision of trained vaccinators, following the requisite standard operating procedures (SOPs)," said VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog.
He added that an advisory in this regard has been issued to states. In a letter, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan directed states and Union territories to make suitable arrangements for the facility.
The letter advised that a list of such potential beneficiaries and their care-givers be prepared in the catchment area of every planning unit and collated at district level. "Subsequently, vaccination of such beneficiaries may be facilitated at their place of residence using mobile vaccination teams," it added.
"We are urging those who are eligible but have not taken the vaccine (men, women, pregnant women, everybody), more so who are of a higher age above 50 years to make an effort to come forward and get vaccinated. We are there to help," added Paul. The nodal officer designated for grievance redressal of differently-abled persons will be responsible for the home vaccination services.
Demand For Doorstep Vaccination
Disability rights groups and activists have been demanding doorstep vaccination against Covid-19 for the disabled and their caregivers. In February, 104 disability rights groups, activists and individuals wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded ₹ 7,500 per month as compensation to all disabled during the pandemic period.
According to the 2011 Census, the number of people with disabilities in India is close to 2.68 crore (or 2.2 per cent of the population).
SC Pulls Up Centre
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre on a PIL seeking door-to-door vaccination facilities for those with physical and mental disabilities and their caregivers. Petitioner Evara Foundation, an NGO, argued before a bench of justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna that the Indian Medical Assocation has recommended door-to-door vaccination of persons with disability but only Jharkhand and Kerala have implemented it.