One lakh vaccinations per day is Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) new target in its fight against COVID-19, but it still awaits a nod from the Centre. “Ten days ago, a team of Centre had held a COVID-19 review meeting. The CM was also there. I had requested them to allow door-to-door vaccinations so we can achieve 1 lakh target easily,” BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal told CNN-News18.
Responding to the delay, Shiv Sena slammed the Centre over the issue. “Door to door vaccine – no mandate. Asthma and obesity in comorbidity – no mandate. Religious saints – no mandate. Open for all – no mandate. This kind of one size fits all vaccination policy by the centre for all states is restricting its outreach and will impact recovery,” Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted. Sena is the largest alliance partner in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government in the state.
“We are conducting 25,000 vaccinations per day. We have crossed the 1 million mark three days ago. We plan to do 1 lakh vaccinations per day… In the last 15 days, Mumbai has reported 85,000 new cases, 269 deaths. The mortality rate is only 0.2 per cent, which is very low and we are very happy with it. But 225 of these 269 are from the 60 plus age group. If we can vaccinate them quickly, we can save them,” Chahal said.
He also gave examples of Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan where door-to-door vaccinations were being conducted. “Some states have done door-to-door vaccination. In Tamil Nadu, a dozen ambulances went to a particular locality and vaccinated 400 people in 2 hours. Even in Rajasthan, teams are going door-to-door in rural areas. That is why Rajasthan was number 1 till recently. We have overtaken them. We will have to wait for GoI orders. Availability of stock of vaccines, number of population figures — all these things must be taken into consideration before any such major decision is taken for the entire country,” he said.
When asked about the delay in giving a nod for vaccination, he hinted at the shortage of vaccines. “I understand their limitations as well. There has to be a right connection between demand and supply. How many vaccines are available for the country, how many 45 plus people are there in the country, what are the numbers, what is the availability of vaccines, you have to look at all these things before such permissions are granted. No point in blaming the government of India. They are doing their best. Once the stock of vaccination piles up, this can be the step,” he said.
Chahal also said that the BMC will now crack the whip on private hospitals if they fail to deliver on vaccination targets. “Private hospital should pull up their socks now and they should increase vaccinations. The government of India has been very kind to get them on board after getting permissions. They have to demonstrate performance. I expect 1,000 from big hospitals and 500 from small hospitals, on a daily basis. We will definitely reach 1 lakh with that,” he said.