Karnataka Agriculture Minister BC Patil on Tuesday stirred a controversy after he took the coronavirus vaccine shot at his house instead of at a hospital. Later in the day, the Centre asked the state government to submit a report on the matter.
“This is not allowed in the protocol,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference. “It has come to our notice and we have asked for a report from the state government.”
Earlier in the day, the 64-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party MLA took to Twitter to post pictures of him and his wife getting inoculated at their Hirekerur residence in Haveri district during the second phase of the vaccination drive. In this phase, the Centre aims to cover senior citizens and people aged 45 with co-morbidities. The jab is free at government facilities, while private centres are offering it at a capped price of Rs 250 per dose.
Patil also faced flak from his party colleague and state Health Minister K Sudhakar for violating coronavirus protocols. Sudhakar said the protocol was to get inoculated in the hospital. He added that the medical team should have persuaded Patil to come to hospital.
“Unless there is a prior permission, no one is allowed to go home to vaccinate,” said the state health minister. “It is wrong to go home to administer a vaccine.”
Haveri District Health Officer Dr Rajendra Doddamani has issued notice to Taluk Health Officer ZR Makandar, reported India Today.
Patil, however, continued to defend himself. He said it was “not a big issue” and he had not committed any crime, reported India Today. “This is not a big issue,” he told reporters. “Why shouldn’t I take it at home? What’s wrong in that? Have I committed a crime or stolen anything? I am also a part of the government. Hundreds of people wait to meet me daily. If I go to the hospital, it will cause inconvenience to hundreds of people there and work will stop. At home, at least after taking the vaccine during the observation time I can meet people.”
Several ministers, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, have got their first coronavirus shots at designated vaccination centres. India has so far vaccinated 1,56,20,749 beneficiaries, including 7,68,730 being inoculated on Tuesday, according to the Union health ministry. As of 1 pm on Tuesday, 2,08,791 people were vaccinated in the second phase of the vaccination programme. About 50 lakh people have registered for the vaccination drive till March 2.