The Bombay High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Union government on a petition requesting that door-to-door vaccination facility be made available for the citizens above 75 years and also for those people who cannot visit inoculation centres because they are either bed-ridden or are wheelchair users.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni also asked the Union government if the procedure laid down for registration for vaccination can be made more user friendly.
The HC was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocates Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari seeking a direction to the Centre and the Maharashtra government to provide door-to-door vaccination facility for senior citizens above the age of 75, for disabled persons, and also for those who are bed-ridden or wheelchair users.
The bench directed advocate Advait Sethna, who appeared for the Union government, to respond to the plea and said the issues raised in the petition need to be addressed.
"We are not trying to interfere with the government's policy on this issue. We are only seeing if any improvement can be made to the policy. The concern is that the process could be more user friendly and not lengthy," the bench said.
Justice Kulkarni pointed out that he could not take his father, who is wheelchair-bound, to a vaccination centre yet. "There may be many more such worse cases where a person is completely bed-ridden and hence cannot go out," he said.
Chief Justice Datta noted that in the meetings held between the administrative committee of the HC and Mumbai civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal, it was said that an ICU is needed (at vaccination centres) so that a person can be observed after inoculation.
"We were told that the vaccination centre needs to have a hospital set up or an ICU...this is so that medical aid is available to a person who does not respond well to the vaccine. It should not happen that a person gets a vaccine and then faces some issue," Chief Justice Datta said. "If this is the protocol, then door-to-door vaccine facility may not be possible...or an ambulance equipped with ICU will have to go too," he added.
Government pleader Purnima Kanthari told the high court that there are certain conditions, including having a hospital set up for emergency medical aid and so on, that need to be followed by a vaccine centre.
The court will hear the petition on April 9.