As the financial capital of the country goes to the polls (elections) in 2022, politicians and corporators from different wards have started vaccination camps.
Manohar Agnani, additional secretary in the union ministry of health and family welfare had written a letter to all the states mentioning the vaccination guidelines “Only four options are available for carrying out vaccination – government centre, private vaccination centre, government office to be run by a government hospital, private office to be run by a private hospital, along with “near to home” vaccination for the elderly and differently-abled person, to be organized at group housing societies, RWA (Residents Welfare Association) offices, community centres, panchayat bhawans, schools/colleges and old age homes temporarily.”
The actions of politicians in Mumbai are monopolizing vaccines for the rich.
Despite the guidelines, many politicians have conducted and facilitated vaccination camps in localities and residential buildings. Also, this vaccination plan comes when the governing body of Mumbai, BMC has been reporting a shortage of vaccines to inoculate people.
A tweet from BMC stated that “Dear Mumbaikars, please note that all BMC and Government vaccination centres will be closed tomorrow (June 3, 2021). We apologize for the inconvenience. Please watch this space for updates regarding vaccination centres and schedules.”
Contrary to this, politicians have tied up with private-run hospitals to conduct vaccination drives in their constituency.
Ameet Satam, BJP MLA (Member of Assembly) started paid-vaccination camps from May 29 in Walkeshwar, Bandra, and Andheri in tie-up with Apollo hospital. The charges for the dose in INR 1000 contrary to INR 850 charged in the hospital.
MLC (Member of Council) Niranjan Davkahre has started vaccinations camps in Thane in a tie-up with Apollo hospital.
In Navi Mumbai, BJP member Nilesh Bhojane has organized free vaccination camps in a tie-up with Reliance hospital. BJP Parliamentarian Manoj Kotak has facilitated vaccination drives for more than 20 residential societies in Mulund.
BJP MLA Ashish Shelar organized a 3-day vaccination drive with Apollo Hospital. Every registered person had to pay INR 1000 for the vaccine drive which was held at Bandra Hindu Association.
Director of National Health Mission, N Ramaswamy stated the government guidelines and pointed out that vaccination drives are only to facilitate easy accessibility for the elderly and the specially-abled people. “Private camps are not allowed unless the requirement is fulfilled, especially not for just 18-44 age group”.
Dr Satish Pawar, Directorate of Health Services, said municipal corporators have to take action if private drives are organized for people who are neither elderly nor specially abled.
As the elections are due in the next year, corporators have jumped in the race for curry-favouring people in their constituencies. With no adherence given to government guidelines and rules, politicians, in tie-ups with private hospitals have crossed the boundaries of ethics in the fight against COVID-19.
As the stock of vaccine scares in the state-run vaccination centres which are vaccinating people for free, private hospitals and politicians have led the race. Charging INR 800 to INR 1000 for a dose, the “business” of vaccinating people is going to run smoothly for them, unless the state or central government takes action.