Delhi CM Kejriwal asks PM Modi to remove age caps for Covid vaccinations
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to remove age-related restrictions for the ongoing vaccination drive and ease protocols for starting new vaccine sites, in the light of the resurgence of Covid-19 cases across the country, the chief minister’s office said in a press statement issued on Monday. The state government also ordered its hospitals to run one-third of their inoculation sites 24x7.
“The increase in the rate of transmission of Corona across the country has presented new concerns and challenges. The vaccination campaign needs to move more rapidly in this context. If rules for opening new centres are simplified and everyone is allowed to be vaccinated irrespective of age, then the Delhi government can vaccinate all Delhi residents within three months. In the fight against Corona, the Delhi government has had the support of the Centre at every step,” said the statement citing Kejriwal’s letter to Modi.
The test positivity rate crossed the 5% mark on Monday for the first time in 124 days as the fourth wave continued to surge in the Capital. The World Health Organization recommends a positivity rate below 5% for an infection to be considered under control.
“Now you can get Covid vaccine anytime in Delhi. Beneficiaries should come forward and get the shot. We will not let there be a shortage of facilities,” said Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet.
Two weeks ago, all Delhi government hospitals were asked to open six vaccination sites and run them for 12 hours between 9 am and 9 pm.
“One-third of the vaccination sites in all the Delhi government hospitals will also function from 9pm to 9am,” read the latest order by S Sunil, deputy secretary of Delhi’s health and family welfare department.
On Thursday, Kejriwal, in a press briefing, ruled out the possibility of a lockdown or curbs in Delhi at this stage, even though he admitted that a “fourth wave” of the Covid-19 pandemic is raging in the Capital. He also asserted that the government will scale up its strategies on test, tracing, containment and vaccination, even as he appealed to people to take all necessary precautions.
“We must move the vaccination campaign forward in a more swift manner. This needs to be done at two levels. First, there is an urgent need to increase the number of vaccination centres. For this, the pre-conditions placed by the Centre regarding vaccination centres need to be relaxed. For example, according to the central government’s instructions, vaccination centres can only be set up in hospitals or dispensaries. Initially, this was done to ensure that if someone had an adverse reaction to the vaccine, they could be treated immediately in the hospital. The vaccination drive in the last three months has shown that the vaccine is safe. It is, therefore, requested that this condition be removed so that large-scale vaccination centers can be built in schools, community centers, and other places… The Delhi government will ensure that it takes all necessary precautions. In this instance, for example, arrangements for ambulances, etc, will be made at every centre,” said Monday’s statement, citing Kejriwal’s letter to Modi.
“It [the vaccine] should be made available to everyone by removing the age limit to immunisation,” the statement continued.