The Maharashtra government will soon start trials for home vaccination against Covid-19 for residents who are bedridden, the state’s counsel told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday, reported PTI. The experiment will first start in Pune district.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, representing Maharashtra, told the division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni that the state would not wait for an approval from the Centre.
“We will not refer the proposal to start home vaccination to the Centre for approval,” Kumbhaoni said. “We will take our own decision. We will explore this possibility [home vaccination] on a trial basis in Pune district.”
The High Court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocates Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari. The petitioners have sought directions to the Centre and the state government to introduce door-to-door vaccination for those above 75, for people with special needs, and those who are bedridden.
The government’s submission on the trials came after the High Court on Tuesday asked why it needed an approval from the central government to start home vaccination. It cited the examples of Kerala, Jharkhand and Bihar where door-to-door vaccination had already started.
The bench on Wednesday said the state government can go ahead with its home vaccination drive on a trial basis without waiting for a court order, and posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday. It also asked the chairperson of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force to attend the proceeding.
On Tuesday, the state government had told the court that they will impose conditions such as a written consent from the beneficiary’s family and a certificate from the family doctor taking responsibility for any adverse reaction to the vaccine. To this, the High Court on Wednesday said the condition asking for a certificate from a doctor was impractical.
“We hope and trust that you [government] won’t insist on a doctor to certify,” said Chief Justice Datta. “How can a doctor take responsibility? Do not put such an impractical condition.”
On June 8, the Centre had informed the Bombay High Court that near-to-door coronavirus vaccination would be a more feasible option than door-to-door inoculation. A meeting of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration was held on May 25 after the court directed the Centre to examine if door-to-door vaccination was possible.
The Centre has been facing pressure to speed up its inoculation drive. More than 33 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country since January 16.
India recorded 45,951 new coronavirus cases and 817 deaths on Wednesday morning, data from the Union health ministry showed. With this, the infection tally climbed to 3,03,62,848 and the toll to 3,98,454 since the pandemic broke out in January last year.