Mumbai civic body plans to allot ward wise jab centres to residents
To smoothen the vaccination process, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has planned to allot vaccination centres to potential beneficiaries, as per their respective civic wards. This, officials said, will help in evenly dispersing the crowd and eliminating serpentine queues outside large vaccination centres. However, this plan will be implemented only after the civic body can procure an adequate number of vials. Civic officials also said ward-wise booking of slots for vaccination will continue via the Co-WIN app, the modalities for which, are yet to be decided.
Decentralising immunisation will benefit citizens like 49-year-old Sujata Shah, who travelled 23kms from her home in Borivli to the BKC jumbo centre, to get her second jab, as she couldn’t book a slot at a nearby vaccination centre on the Co-WIN app. She got her first jab at HCG Hospital, Borivli last month. But when she tried to get her second dose, the hospital ran out of vials, which left her with no option but to choose the jumbo centre.
“It was my sixth week from the time I took my first shot, so I had to get the second jab at the earliest. Also, as I am a diabetic, I didn’t want to miss my second jab. I ended up spending ₹800 on commute just to get the second vaccine,” said Shah.But not everyone can afford to spend large amounts on the commute to get the vaccine. Additionally, due to the unavailability of vials, people often have to run from one vaccination centre to another, which are kilometres away, despite having an appointment.
The differently-abled and bed-ridden patients are most affected.
On May 10, Tanmay Roy, 57, had to book an ambulance to ferry his 88-year-old paralysed father from Malad to get him inoculated at Dahisar Jumbo Centre.
“I could have taken him to BKC Jumbo Centre but his doctor suggested to get him inoculated at Dahisar Jumbo Centre which remains less crowded. Due to his health condition, he is extremely vulnerable to contracting the infection, so we had to be careful,” he said.
Every day, hundreds of probable beneficiaries are facing a similar plight to get immunised in the city. Taking cognisance of the inconvenience that is being caused, the public health department has chalked out a plan to start ward-wise immunisation of their respective residents.
“We are planning to allot vaccination centres according to the wards. This will help lessen the burden on other big centres. But to do so, we need to have an adequate number of vials to distribute it among all the 26 wards,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, BMC.
At present, BMC has 146 vaccination centres across the city. But most of the centres either have an inadequate number of vials or slots for jabs that aren’t available on the centralised Co-WIN app.
For instance, Preeti Nihalani booked a slot for her 60-year-old mother at Tata Memorial Hospital for Thursday. But later, she got a message about its cancellation.
The BMC on Wednesday floated an expression of interest (EOI) to procure 10 million vaccine doses from vaccine manufacturers abroad. The decision was taken by the civic body on Monday to speed up the vaccination process.
“It is a good suggestion to allot vaccination centres ward-wise to its residents. But, BMC will also have to ensure that each of the wards has an adequate number of vials. Otherwise, it may further aggravate the public fury against the corporation if they notice any partiality in the distribution of the vials,” said Dr Sanjay Pattiwar, public health expert.