A rap on the knuckles by Delhi High Court on ‘Irritating’ messages on vaccination when there are no jabs available
Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli stressed the need for awareness material regarding use of oxygen concentrators and cylinders to ensure they are used properly by people
Justices Sanghi and Palli said, "You are not vaccinating people but you still say, ‘vaccination lagvayein’, kaun lagayega vaccination when there is no vaccination. What is the point?”
Showing their extreme annoyance over the Centre’s lacklustre performance on the Vaccination drive in the country, during a hearing by a division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli of Delhi High Court, asked the Centre to revisit their Corona Awareness caller tunes programme.
They said, that when there was a dire shortage of vaccines these caller tunes were a nuisance. “You have been playing that one irritating message on the phone whenever one makes a call, for I don’t know how long, that we have the vaccination when you actually don’t have the vaccination. You are not vaccinating people but you still say, ‘vaccination lagvayein (get vaccinated)’, kaun lagayega vaccination (who will get vaccination) when there is no vaccination. What is the point?”
“Not that you have prepared one and you will keep running it till, like a tape it stops running… you will keep running it for ten years. You have to react to the situation existing on ground, You please have more of them. Maybe a person will hear a different one every time and it will help them,” the court observed.
The court also suggested that awareness materials created by IMCR, such as “audiovisual content like videos of Dr Randeep Guleria (AIIMS director)”, should be broadcast on national channels. It said that authorities can rope in Bollywood actors or any other stars to “conduct interviews with celebrated doctors like Dr Guleria or Dr Paul (NITI Ayog member). All this needs to be done soon. There needs to be a sense of urgency. We are losing time,” they added.
The bench while observing that last year’s campaigning about washing hands and hygiene were upto the mark and that the country now needs campaign material regarding usage of oxygen concentrators and cylinders.
“All this needs to come fast because this is the time when people are importing and buying concentrators,” said the court, adding that all this is the responsibility of the state.
The Central Government through its counsels told the court that they will take up the issue with the relevant officials in the Ministry of Health and report back next week.
The bench of Justices Sanghi and Palli, have been monitoring Corona related situation on a daily basis since 19th April. It has on multiple occasions they have come down heavily on the Centre on various issues like availability of oxygen in Delhi, its distribution and other healthcare issues.
On one occasion, rejecting the Centre’s submission that Delhi does not require 700 MTs of oxygen, the bench had told the Government that it might choose to “dig its head like an ostrich in the sand” but the court will not.
Presently, Delhi was forced to shut 100 sites where Covaxin was being administered as they hadn’t received additional stock following an initial delivery of 1.5 lakh doses.
So far in Delhi, 32.74 lakh people have got one vaccination shot. Of these, 4.7 lakh are in the 18-44 bracket while another 9.65 lakh people have got both doses. Only 2.9 lakh doses are left for those above the age of 45, frontline workers and healthcare workers. For the 18-44 age bracket, 3.9 lakh doses were left, of which only 10,000 are Covaxin.