NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to “seriously” consider involving RWAs in the COVID-19 vaccination drive in association with private hospitals, making it convenient and safe for residents to get jabs at nearby centres.
In case the government finds merit in this suggestion, the position may be clarified without any delay and if the authorities are not inclined to permit Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) to organise such camps, the reasons shall be disclosed in a status report, the high court said.
“In our view, the said aspect deserves serious consideration, and unless there are any specific reasons why the Central Government would not want the RWAs to play a role in the vaccination drive, there should be no impediment in designating the camps organised by the RWAs in association with private hospitals as vaccination centres run by private hospitals.
“Permitting vaccinations to be undertaken at such camps would go a long way in making it convenient and safe for the residents of the colonies to get themselves vaccinated at such centres. The Central Government should, therefore, seriously consider this proposal at the earliest,” said a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, which was hearing pleas relating to management of COVID-19 crisis in Delhi.
The court, in its June 4 order, asked the Centre to file a status report in this regard by July 7, when it will hear the matter on reopening after vacations.
The issue relating to permit the RWAs to carry out vaccinations for the residents of the locality was raised by amicus curiae and senior advocate Raj Shekhar Rao.
He said on May 29, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a clarification regarding the scope of COVID-19 vaccination by private hospitals in accordance with the National COVID Vaccination Programme.
As per the ministry’s order, private hospitals are permitted to carry out COVID-19 vaccinations through private COVID-19 vaccination centres run by them and no other avenue and the States and Union Territories have been asked to monitor the vaccination in their respective States to ensure adherence to the prescribed guidelines.
The amicus pointed out that prior to issuance of this order by the ministry, several RWAs across Delhi had organised vaccination drives/ camps within their respective colonies for their residents in collaboration with different private hospitals and this was done keeping in view the convenience of the residents and to avoid overcrowding at other vaccination centres.
He said looking to the significant role played by RWAs in organising vaccination drives/ camps in the context of the overall management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre should consider issuing specific clarification in this regard so that the associations, in collaboration with private hospitals, may be able to qualify as private COVID Vaccination Centres of the hospitals.