CHENNAI: The Chennai Corporation has so far vaccinated 5839 people with disabilities at their houses even as activists stressed that this drive must be implemented in all districts and villages.
Activists said even though it has been months since the Tamil Nadu government urged all districts to conduct door-to-door vaccinations and make special arrangements for the physically challenged, such measures are not seen in the districts yet.
However, Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said the policy of vaccinating people at their doorsteps is being implemented everywhere in Tamil Nadu.
“The Commissioner of the Welfare of Differently Abled is pushing it through the collectors but I don’t think this is getting implemented fully in the field level,” said the State President of the December 3 movement Deepaknathan, who is a rights activist and also helped initiate the move of doorstep vaccination for people with disabilities by meeting the Chief Minister.
He also pointed out an instance of a differently-abled person in Chengalpet who could not get vaccinated as the vaccination camp was not friendly.
“In districts, houses are 12 to 13 kilometres away from the PHCs. How will the severely disabled people visit the centres,” questioned the activist.
He also stressed that the welfare of the differently-abled is important as they would end up as carriers if they are infected and would infect others. “There are so many elderly and disabled people living in villages and it can be efficiently planned for an inclusive vaccination drive,” he added.
Activists also urged for transparency in data on vaccinations of people with disabilities elsewhere in the state just like how they share it in Chennai.
The Health Secretary said, “Every district has innovated trying to reach achieve inclusiveness by providing extra facilities such as doorstep vaccination with sufficient medical preparedness to tackle adverse events,” adding that apart from people with disabilities, in Nilgiris, tribals were vaccinated, and in Nagapattinam fishermen were vaccinated.
“Many workplace interventions are also being done and this healthy involvement of a cross-section of society across the state and also in Chennai has helped in ensuring that the state has been able to overcome the vaccine hesitancy,” he added.