Show COVID19 vaccination certificate, get ration under PDS, says IMA. Health experts protest

The Indian Medical Association has also asked the Centre that all citizens above the age of 18 be allowed to be vaccinated, as opposed to the current age limit of 45. However, the Union government has said that the aim of the vaccination drive is to administer the COVID19 vaccine to those who need it, not those who want it.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: April 6th, 2021

At present, people above the age of 45 are allowed to receive the vaccine. Photo: @PBNS_India/twitter

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), a national voluntary body of medical doctors, has written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, April 6, regarding COVID19 vaccination on a war footing to mitigate the recent surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

Among the list of suggestions for the vaccination drive, the IMA has recommended: “Vaccination certificate shall be made a mandatory certificate for entering into public places and receiving products under the public distribution system.”

It has also asked for all citizens above the age of 18 to be allowed to receive the COVID19 vaccination. At present, people above the age of 45 are allowed to receive the vaccine. The IMA has asked for walk-in COVID vaccination for all, free of cost. Additionally, to break the chain, the association has suggested “limited period continuous lock down implemented especially for all the non-essential areas like cinema cultural and religious events, sports, etc.”

IMA’s suggestion to PM Modi to link the vaccine certificate with PDS has been strongly opposed by nutrition and public health experts. They claim denying people ration, their legal entitlement under the National Food Security Act, 2013, is against the law of the land.

Earlier in the day, the assistant director of Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Bandipora district in Jammu & Kashmir, issued an order asking consumers above 45 years to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 or forego their ration.

“Please remember that without producing covid-19 (sic) vaccination certificate, ration will not be issued in any case,” read the order.

However, the controversial order was withdrawn within hours.

In another order, the assistant director clarified: “The public notice wherein it was inadvertently made mandatory for persons aged 45 and above to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19 for the collection of ration, is hereby withdrawn ab-initio.”

Meanwhile, in its letter to Modi today, the IMA has also said: “Zero tolerance against the non-compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour, augmentation of infrastructure, beds and oxygen availability, moral support and enthusiastic engagement of frontline health workers, ensuring adequate health care, protective gear support and strict adherence to evidence-based treatment protocols are the key factors needed at this moment.”

Amid the growing demand from states and associations demanding that the age for getting the COVID-19 vaccine be reduced from the present 45, the Union government has said that the aim of the vaccination drive is to administer the COVID19 vaccine to those who need it, not those who want it.

“Many people ask why we shouldn’t open vaccination for all. There are two aims of such vaccination drives — to prevent deaths and protect the healthcare system. The aim is not to administer the vaccine to those who want it but to those who need it,” Rajesh Bhushan, the Union health secretary, said during the health ministry’s weekly media briefing today.

As on April 5, only 5.3 per cent of the total population of India has received at least one dose of the vaccine. And, only 0.8 per cent have been fully vaccinated, having received both doses.

As per data shared by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, more than 4.3 million vaccination doses were administered in the country in the last 24 hours.

Also Read: India registers highest single-day COVID19 vaccination across all countries in the world

Yesterday, April 5, the chief ministers of Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, which are badly affected by COVID, requested the central government to relax the age bar for COVID-19 vaccination. 

Also Read: Lower COVID-19 vaccination age to 25, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray requests PM Modi

Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases —  47,288. Delhi has reported 3,548 cases and Rajasthan 2,429 cases in the last 24 hours.