Public, pvt offices with 100 ‘eligible’ people can get Covid jabs
To speed up the vaccination drive across the country, the Centre on Wednesday allowed Covid-19 vaccination at public and private workplaces having about 100 eligible beneficiaries from April 11.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter to the chief secretaries said a substantial proportion of the population aged 45 years and above is in the organised sector of the economy and is involved in formal occupation in offices (Government and private) or manufacturing and services.
“In order to increase the access of vaccine to these populations, Covid-19 vaccination sessions may be organised at workplaces (both public & private) which are having about 100 eligible and willing beneficiaries by tagging these work places with an existing Covid vaccination centre,” Bhushan said in the letter.
However, the Government’s decision to allow vaccination to only 45 years of age and above has not gone down well with the health experts who said that co-morbidity, and not age should be the criteria for vaccination.
Trying to bring home their point, the doctors pointed out that a large number of the below-45 population suffer from various comorbidity conditions and are more vulnerable to the infections than those who are at or above 45.
Dr Rahul Bhargava, Director, Department of Clinical Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Fortis Hospital in Gurugram, said that “I believe after covering 60 plus people, the Government should have made comorbidity conditions irrespective of any age as the only criteria to receive a vaccine.”
He argued that there are many youth below 45 suffering from serious ailments like pulmonary diseases such as tuberculosis, asthma, etc. Depriving them the benefits of shots indicate ignorance on the part of the Government. Why to spare precious resources on a non-needy person, he asked.
Dr Rajendra Prasad, Spine and Neurosurgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Sarita Vihar in Delhi, echoed similar views saying, “I am disappointed that at this point the Government has not opened up vaccination for all those above 18 years of age, especially in the wake of the rapid second wave.
“However, I do understand that because of the shortage of vaccines and the large population that needs to be vaccinated there will be delay. But I strongly feel that the Government should spend on production of vaccines rather than spending huge amounts on elections where there is total disregard for social distancing and I am sure we will see a bad effect of this shortly,” said Dr Prasad.
Dr Prasad who is also associated with Indian Head Injury Foundation engaged in rehabilitation of seriously disabled people in the country has been seeking inclusion of nursing agencies providing nursing assistants (untrained ayahs), people with serious disabilities and bed-ridden persons in the vaccination category.