EXCLUSIVE: J&K Govt mulls vaccinating elderly people at home, may become first in country to do so
File photo: KM/Umar Ganie
SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir government is considering at-home COVID-19 vaccination for senior citizens in a bid to prevent them from exposure to infections.
Top sources told The Kashmir Monitor that the matter was discussed at the highest level in Jammu and a need was felt that elderly people should be inoculated at home.
“There are reports that elderly people are facing inconvenience to visit the vaccination centers. Since vaccination was opened for 60 plus people in the third phase, there are a good number of people who have not been inoculated so far due to varied reasons. To vaccinate all those left-outs, the government is mulling to immunize them at home,” a top source said.
If this proposal goes through, Jammu and Kashmir will become the first state/union territory in the country to vaccinate people at their homes.
Sources said the government is weighing the pros and cons of this drive since the vaccination has been opened for all above 18 years from May 1.
“We have to take logistics into consideration. We have to see the feasibility part as well. How to go about it? Will elderly people have to register online? How will vaccinators reach out? These are certain questions that need answers. Once a blueprint is made, the drive can take off,” the source added.
A top officer said the government has prepared a micro plan for future vaccinations in Jammu and Kashmir. “Inoculating elderly people at home is part of this plan,” he said.
The government is also mulling to rope in reputed NGOs to ensure transparency and avoid wastage of vaccines.
“The government wants to ensure transparency. That is why they want to coordinate with NGOs so that it reaches to the real beneficiaries. This way the government and NGOs will audit each other to maintain transparency,” said the officer.
The experiment was first started in the US last year and it was a roaring success. After many homebound seniors with mobility issues were unable to visit vaccination centers, the government decided to inoculate them at home. Particularly those who were suffering from severe illnesses like Alzheimer’s or were wheelchair-bound.
For the last one month, COVID-19 cases have recorded a 700 percent increase in Jammu and Kashmir. The state administration has started vaccinating people above 18 years in order to arrest the trend.
Official figures reveal that over 25 lakh people have been inoculated in Jammu and Kashmir so far. They include health workers, frontline workers, people above 60 years, and citizens above 45 with or without comorbidities.
Since the second COVID wave swept Jammu and Kashmir, there has been an uptake in the vaccination rate in both regions. Official figures reveal that on average, over 60,000 people are being inoculated every day in Jammu and Kashmir.
More than 1500 vaccination sites have been set up across 20 districts in Jammu and Kashmir. Each person will be administered two doses of vaccines within six weeks. Every person is closely being monitored after being administered the first dose of the vaccine.