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Population Of Sikkim Meagre Yet Vaccines Not Available: High Court Asks State To Take Proactive Steps For Procurement; Frame Policy To Combat Third Wave Of Covid-19

Akshita Saxena
5 Jun 2021 12:23 PM GMT
Population Of Sikkim Meagre Yet Vaccines Not Available: High Court Asks State To Take Proactive Steps For Procurement; Frame Policy To Combat Third Wave Of Covid-19
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The Sikkim High Court on Friday expressed concern over unavailability of Covid-19 vaccine in the State and directed the authorities to take proactive steps in this direction so that the vaccination drive can be taken up on "mission mode". "Although the population of the entire State stands at a meagre number of approximately 7 lakhs, we are informed that presently vaccines are...

The Sikkim High Court on Friday expressed concern over unavailability of Covid-19 vaccine in the State and directed the authorities to take proactive steps in this direction so that the vaccination drive can be taken up on "mission mode".

"Although the population of the entire State stands at a meagre number of approximately 7 lakhs, we are informed that presently vaccines are not available for the 18-44 age group whose population reportedly stands at 2,90,000 (two lakhs and ninety thousand) only," a Division Bench of Justices Meenakshi Madan Rai and Bhaskar Raj Pradhan observed.

The Court also expressed displeasure on the fact that no policy has been envisaged till date for the purpose of dealing with the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

"We are of the considered opinion that the State Respondents are required to have policies in place to deal with the third wave in order to shield the population of Sikkim from its repercussions and wide advertisement given to such policies that they seek to adopt for the knowledge of the common man. The preparedness should also be in terms of augmented infrastructure medical and otherwise. This, of course, includes human resources," the Bench observed.

So far as the vaccination programme is concerned, the Bench said,

"Considering the entire population of the State, a meagre amount of 14 lakhs vaccines would be the approximate requirement of the State. Thus, we trust that the State-Respondents shall make untiring and proactive efforts to obtain the entire number of requisite doses so that the population of the State can be vaccinated at the earliest.

This becomes imperative in view of the peculiar circumstances of the State inasmuch as the foot-fall of tourists sometimes outnumbers the residents of a particular town and the availability of the medical infrastructure or the lack of it has to be thereby taken into consideration making the vaccination of the population an urgent requirement

This becomes even more imperative looking at the present Covid-19 situation in Sikkim and the mortality rate of patients vis-à-vis the population. The State-Respondents require to actively impress upon the Respondents No.1, 2 and 12 about the total population of the State and the miniscule vaccine requirement thereof."

Additionally, the Bench has sought ramping up of ICU facilities, both for Covid and non-Covid patients.

In the Northern District, the Bench noted, only 3 ICU beds have been earmarked for Covid-19 patients in the existing District Hospital.

"This number is abysmally low considering the number of Covid-19 positive persons in North Sikkim," the Bench remarked.

Similarly, in Southern Sikkim, it noted that ICU beds are not available for general patients.

"The State-Respondents shall address this issue in terms of the undertaking given by the DG. We reiterate that the Hospital cannot be devoid of ICU beds for general patients," the Bech ordered.

It also sought a report on sanction of Mobile Testing Laboratory, especially for RT-PCR test, from the Centre.

Furthermore, the Bench called for immediate steps for establishing VRDL facility in every District. It noted that both the Northern and Southern Districts are lacking testing facilities and the residents thereof rely on other facilities available in neighboring districts.

Bearing in mind the onset of the monsoon and the related consequence of landslides and inaccessibility of one District from the other, the Bench said, a sample collected from the West District for testing cannot be left to the vagaries of nature should there be road blocks to the South District. Similarly, such dependency should not be created for the North District on the East District for the self-same reasons. This would obviously have the repercussion of delayed treatment.

It therefore directed the State to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to establish VRDL facilities in all four Districts within 90 days.

Matter is fixed for hearing on June 16.

Case Title: In Re : Covid 19 Management

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