The Maharashtra government has told the Bombay High Court that it will start publishing and notifying people about weekly vaccination schedules in Mumbai and some other districts in the state whenever it has adequate stock of anti-Covid-19 vaccines. In an affidavit filed in the HC earlier this week, the state government said it was also working on a system of allotting citizens predetermined time slots for vaccination to avoid unnecessary rush at inoculation centres.
The affidavit was taken on record on Thursday by a bench of Justices SP Deshmukh and GS Kulkarni that was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations on issues faced by citizens in obtaining Covid-19 vaccination appointments through the CoWin portal. The pleas also sought the court’s intervention to help address issues faced by the public at the state and BMC’s vaccination centres. The state government said it was agreeable to some suggestions given by the petitioners on making the vaccination process smoother. It said in the affidavit that appropriate directions will be issued to all districts and municipal corporations to ensure that vaccination slots were opened at a pre-determined time on the basis of availability of vaccine stocks so as to avoid inconvenience to citizens.
In the previous hearing, advocate Jamsheed Master, who appeared for one of the petitioners, Yogeeta Vanzara, informed the court that districts like Kolhapur, Nandurbar and Gadchiroli published slots for vaccines in advance.One of the grievances raised in her plea was that since vaccination slots were not being disclosed before hand in Mumbai and several other districts, citizens had to waste their time checking for appointments throughout the day.
“In respect of the suggestions made by the petitioner on opening bookings of vaccine at a fixed time and notifying weekly schedules, the state government will issue directions to that effect to all district and municipal authorities to publish vaccination session slots accordingly on the basis of availability of stocks of vaccine, to avoid inconvenience to the public,” the affidavit reads. The HC will continue the hearing after two weeks.