100-12 months-Previous Disabled Lady Pleads For House Vaccination, Hospital Refuses Quoting Govt Norms
Padma Ranganathan, a 100-year-old woman unable to walk due to her age and physical disability, lives on the N block in Saket, a posh colony in South Delhi.
Only a few hundred meters from her house is the Max Super Specialty Hospital, where the vaccination campaign is in full swing.
Ranganathan’s daughter, Dr. Reena Ramachandran, has asked the hospital staff to vaccinate her mother at home because she is not only a hundred years old but also paraplegic.
“The hospital staff are nice and polite, but they say the state government norm does not allow them to vaccinate anyone at home,” said Dr. Ramachandran.
She adds, “Even if we somehow manage to get her to the hospital in an ambulance, there is a high chance she will find the infection. It is life-threatening for them. “
Outlook spoke to many hospitals who said they were handcuffed because the Union Ministry of Health circular does not allow them to have door-to-door vaccinations.
“Even the state governments cannot do anything if the centre’s circular does not allow home vaccination. The Union Ministry of Health needs to change its policy, “said a doctor at a private hospital that is part of the ongoing vaccination campaign.
Dr. Satendra Singh, Organization Leader, Doctors with Disabilities: Agents of Change, an all-India organization of health workers with disabilities, blames both the center and the state government for ensuring that norms for home vaccination are not relaxed for the disabled or those at risk of infection.
Dr. Singh has emailed the Delhi Minister of Health and Social Affairs to vaccinate the elderly and disabled at home by launching a door-to-door vaccination campaign.
“Following media outrage and subsequent reading of these published media reports, the Disability Commissioner of Delhi instructed the Division’s commissioner to set up special COVID vaccination centers for people with disabilities in all 11 financial districts.” Singh wrote in an email.
“Unfortunately there is no clarity, some recommend vaccinations for people aged 45 and over and others say that people aged 18 and over will be approached later,” he added.
The Union Ministry of Health urged states / UTs on May 27, 2021 to follow its Home-based COVID Vaccination Centers (NHCVC) guidelines for the elderly and disabled. The guidelines aim to promote the community-based approach in non-health-related settings closer to home, e.g.
Dr. Singh says the guidelines are still too ambitious and many people with severe disabilities or the elderly may still not be able to use these services outside of their home and they must not be forgotten.
He argues that Rule 19 (2) of the Delhi Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2018, requires the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi to develop programs to support people with benchmark disabilities with high support needs (HSNs).
Dr. Singh also wrote: “Gender dysphoria in public places, lack of government identification, historical abuse in medical facilities, poor internet access, misinformation and stigma are key factors that disproportionately affect their health care and vaccine acceptance.”
“Instead of reducing existing disparities, we are creating new disparities through the digital divide and the focus on the CoWIN app / website. Both Assam and West Bengal have launched a priority vaccination campaign for transgender people, ”added Dr. Singh added and reiterated his request to start a door-to-door vaccination campaign for the marginalized population.
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