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Bombay HC questions Centre, State on vaccination SOPs

Beneficiaries wait to get COVID-19 vaccine at ESIS Hospital vaccination centre during heavy rain, in Navi Mumbai, Wednesday, June 9, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the State and Union governments what steps they had taken to inform citizens about the Centre’s standard operating procedures (SOP) for vaccinating people without the seven prescribed identity cards.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and G.S. Kulkarni was hearing a bunch of public interest litigation petitions (PILs) on improving access to the CoWIN web portal for booking vaccination slots.

It asked the Union government to inform the court what steps were taken to cover the mentally ill and those who cannot give a consent without a legal guardian, under its vaccination drive.

The court was informed that seven identity cards, including Aadhaar and PAN, could be used to register for vaccination on the CoWIN portal. The Centre had issued a detailed SOP for people who did not possess any of these seven cards. However, the responsibility of identifying such persons and ensuring they were vaccinated was given to the State and district-level officers.

Advocate appearing for the petitioner said the SOPs were not known to everyone, especially in the rural areas.

The Centre’s counsel, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, dismissed this and said many people, who earlier made public statements against receiving the vaccine, had now gone ahead and taken it themselves.

The court said the State must continue creating greater awareness on the vaccine and the SOPs. “What steps have you taken to educate the rural population about the importance of vaccination? The message about the vaccine’s importance must reach every part of the country. Both the Centre and the State must widely publicise vaccination’s benefits.”

The court wanted to know what had been done to inform the public that the seven prescribed identity cards were not mandatory for vaccination. It directed Mr. Singh and the government pleader to inform the court about the steps taken by both on June 17.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 6:28:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/what-steps-taken-to-publicise-sops-for-vaccinating-people-without-prescribed-ids/article34768645.ece

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