Centre allows Covid vaccination at home for the disabled, bedridden

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The Centre on Thursday asked the states to identify bedridden and disabled people, who are unable to access Covid shots even at nearby vaccination centres, to arrange for their inoculation at home.

It had earlier turned down similar proposals, including the one by the Municipal Commission in Mumbai.

In a letter issued to state health secretaries on Wednesday, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that “it is understood that there are still some persons who might be bed-ridden or have extremely restricted mobility or disability that may hamper their accessibility even to NHCVCs”.

He advised the states that a line list of such potential beneficiaries and their caregivers may be prepared in the catchment area of every planning unit and collated at the district level.

“Subsequently, vaccination of such beneficiaries may be facilitated at their place of residence using mobile vaccination teams,” said the letter.

Planning of such a drive, the Centre has cautioned, should be cognisant of the fact that open vial policy is not applicable to Covid vaccines and hence it should be ensured that vaccine wastage is minimal, logistic requirements are maintained and adverse events following immunisation are monitored.

In late May, the Union health ministry had issued guidelines for vaccination near home, making it easier for the elderly and the differently-abled to get inoculated against coronavirus close to the places of their residence.

Through these guidelines, the government had said that individuals above 60 who have not been vaccinated or have received just the first dose, and those below 60 but with disabilities due to physical or medical conditions could be eligible for inoculation at such centres.

These SOPs were based on recommendations by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid.

In the latest letter to the states, the ministry said that 16.13 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far through NHCVC, adding that these centres should continue.

Overall, nearly 84 crore vaccine doses in India have now been administered and 66 % of the adult population has received at least one dose while 23 % of the 18 plus population group is fully vaccinated.

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