The Indian Medical Association (IMA), an association of doctors, on Tuesday has urged the Federal Government to open up COVID-19 vaccination for everyone above 18 years of age.
The association, made the appeal in a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the government should make vaccination certificate mandatory for entry into public places and large gatherings.
“At present, we are vaccinating the population above 45 years.
“In view of the rapid spread of the second wave of the disease, we suggest that our vaccination strategy needs to be geared up with immediate effect on war foot.
“We request all citizens above 18 years of age to be permitted to receive COVID-19 vaccination,” read the letter from IMA.
According to IMA, the vaccination certificate should be made mandatory for entering into public places and receiving products under the public distribution system.
IMA said that as there was an acute spurt of the disease, as a measure to immediately break the chain, a limited period of continuous lockdown should also be implemented especially for all the non-essential areas like cinema, cultural and religious events, sports, etc.
“Zero tolerance against the non-compliance of COVID-19 appropriate behaviors, augmentation of infrastructure beds and oxygen availability, moral support and enthusiastic engagements of frontline health workers.
“ Ensuring adequate health care protective gears support and strict adherence to the evidence-based treatment protocols are the key factors needed at this moment,’’ the letter read.
Highlighting the gradual rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases, the association termed it painful that in spite of extraordinary efforts of the government the new cases in the apparent second wave was turning alarming.
Apart from IMA, chief ministers of Delhi and Maharashtra had also urged the prime minister to expand the COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Meanwhile, the federal government has rejected calls for vaccines for all, stressing the need to cover the most vulnerable first.
“The approach is that those vulnerable to mortality need to be covered soonest. “The aim is to protect the most vulnerable. The aim is never to vaccinate whoever wants it, but always whoever needs it,’’ a senior official in the health ministry, Rajesh Bhushan said.
India’s nationwide vaccination drive against the COVID-19 began on Jan. 16. Initially, healthcare and frontline workers were vaccinated, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under 50 population groups with co-morbidities.
On April 1, India’s health ministry started the third phase of COVID-19 vaccination to inoculate people aged 45 years and older. (Xinhua/NAN)