Observing that the COVID-19 outbreak is now being called as an epidemic of the unvaccinated, the Delhi High Court Thursday said the government must vaccinate at the earliest those people who are old and unwell.
The court was hearing a plea seeking formulation of a policy on urgent door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination for bed-ridden senior citizens here.
A bench of Justices Manmohan and Navin Chawla was informed by the counsel for the 84-year-old petitioner that she is bed-ridden and has not been able to get herself vaccinated even after filing of the petition and after calling at the helpline introduced by the Delhi government on January 7.
The court was informed by the petitioner's counsel Manan Aggarwal that on contacting the helpline number, they told that they do not have any information regarding vaccinating bed-ridden at home. However, the Delhi government claims that the door-to-door campaign was functional.
"This epidemic is now being called as epidemic of unvaccinated. Here there are people who want to get inoculated. Vaccinate them at the earliest, the bench said, adding that, if the door-to-door campaign was functional, this petitioner would have been inoculated by now.
The bench asked the Delhi government counsel Ayushi Bansal to check how many people have been inoculated till now under this campaign.
It also asked the Delhi government counsel, who said she will take instructions regarding the petitioner's case, to see if the aged woman could be inoculated in the meantime.
Central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia said the campaign to vaccinate disabled and bed-ridden people started on September 22, 2021 and the Har Ghar Dastak' campaign began on November 1, 2021, and if the petitioner made a call at the Delhi government's helpline after this period, then it is for the city government to answer why it was not done.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on January 20, after the Delhi government counsel sought time to seek instructions.
The court was earlier informed that the central government has already introduced a policy on door-to-door vaccination and the same has to be followed by all states.
In August last year, the court had issued notice on the petition by 84-year-old Dhiraj Aggarwal.
In her petition, the petitioner has claimed that she suffers from arthritis and is yet to be vaccinated as she cannot visit the vaccination centre on account of her health.
The petitioner has highlighted that many fellow senior and bed-ridden citizens, who are vulnerable to COVID-19, do not have private transport to reach the vaccination centre or even a family member who would help them with the registration process.
The petitioner has contended that it is the obligation of the authorities to introduce helpline and door-to-door vaccination and not doing so is against the right to life.
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