Maharashtra: Commuters agitated over double-jab rule, say up to 50% essential workers partially vaxxed | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Ordinary local train commuters are miffed at the authorities for what they have termed as a “disparity” between them and essential category workers. While the average commuter must comply with double vaccination, passenger activists point to the fact that just about 50% of essential workers in Thane and 72% in Mumbai have been fully vaccinated. As a result, the activists have questioned a policy that allows large numbers of partially-vaccinated individuals to share congested suburban train compartments.

Experts say that most essential workers, given the nature of their work, would have been exposed to the virus by now. As per BMC, 3.04 lakh healthcare and frontline workers in Mumbai have taken both doses of Covid vaccines, accounting for 72% of the category’s targeted population. But 1.21 lakh workers from this category, making just 29% of the target, have taken only the first dose. As for Thane city, only 15,707 healthcare workers, or 49% of the targeted 32,017, have taken both doses. The corresponding number of frontline workers is 13,378, or 55% of the targeted 24,135. Frontline workers include cops and municipal staff, among others.
Activists have raised questions on the rationale behind this disparity. Some experts feel that even if a small section of these partially-vaccinated segments use trains, they could pose a risk for fellow commuters.
“Having single dose-vaccinated healthcare travellers, who are in direct contact with Covid patients, could pose a risk to others considering the rush and close contact on trains. There are cases where some fully vaccinated people have been re-infected. So, caution has to be exercised,” said Dr Santosh Kadam, president, Thane chapter of the Indian Medical Association.
Siddhesh Desai, a suburban railway activist from Kalwa, said the move to allow only fully-vaccinated individuals was “unjust”. “We plan to approach the authorities in this regard. It is unfair on those who have taken a single dose and still have to spend a fortune to travel to work,” he said. However, Dr Avinash Supe, former KEM dean and head of the Covid death audit committee, said healthcare and frontline workers have been exposed to the virus to a greater degree and for a longer time.
“Many of them have got the infection, in which case even a single dose will act as a booster,” he said. Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said that if they are not allowed to travel, essential services would be hit.
Civic officials also maintain that a higher number of healthcare and frontline workers have been fully vaccinated than shown in the records. “Many had taken second doses but since they registered with a different number, Co-Win didn’t record their full vaccination status,” the official said, adding they estimate 25%-30% duplication.
A senior official from Central Railway said, “We are following the same process for issuing tickets or passes to healthcare and frontline workers as was mandated before August 15. There is no protocol set for allowing only fully vaccinated persons from this segment.”

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