Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Know how the government is vaccinating the homeless without photo Ids

The Government of India has been running a nationwide vaccination drive for its citizens against the coronavirus. The vaccination strategy, divided into different phases, focussed on different categories of people. Phase-I of the vaccination strategy focussed on protecting Health Care Workers (HCWs) and Front Line Workers (FLWs), phase-II focussed on protecting the most vulnerable i.e. population more than 45 years of age. While phase III covered persons in 18-44 years of age group. Furthermore, the vaccination drive has now been opened to all, free to all at government vaccination centres.

The vaccination strategy also covers people who do not have even one of the several identification documents required to get oneself vaccinated.

Special provisions for those without an ID

In all the phases, it has been prescribed that the beneficiary must carry with themselves an identity document for the verification of their eligibility and identification. The beneficiary has to be verified by the vaccinator through one of the following seven prescribed individual photo ID proof before vaccination, namely Aadhar card, voter ID, passport, driving license, PAN card, NPR smart card, and pension document with a photograph.

However, the Ministry also recognized the need for facilitating vaccination for people who do not hold any of the above identity cards. For the beneficiaries under this category, the government has laid special provisions.

Who comes under the special provisions?

The provisions cover people such as nomads (including sadhu/saints from various religions), prison inmates, inmates in mental health institutions, citizens in old age homes, roadside beggars, people residing in rehabilitation centres/camps, and any other identified eligible persons, aged 18 years or more, and not having any of the seven prescribed individual photo ID cards.

Identification of such persons

The District Task Force has been assigned the responsibility to identify such groups of persons in respective districts with the assistance of concerned government, departments or organizations like the Department of Minority Affairs, Social Justice, Social Welfare etc.

After the information is collected regarding the identified groups and the number of beneficiaries to be covered, it is collated at the state level. Hereafter, the State Government issues clear instructions for the implementation of the SOPs along with the district-wise estimated maximum number of doses to be administered using the special dispensation.

Role of a Key Facilitator

According to the SOP, a Key Facilitator may also be identified for each such group. The Key Facilitator must have a valid and active mobile phone and at least one of the seven mandated ID cards. The Key Facilitator could be officials of the institutions (both public or private) who provide care and services to people in the identified groups, e.g. prison officials for prison inmates, executive officer/superintendent of an old age home etc.

Easing norms

80% of all vaccine doses have so far been administered in an on-site vaccination mode, i.e, one can walk into the nearest government vaccination centre, and get oneself registered for the vaccine dose.

Moreover, the CoWIN system provides the facility for the creation of special vaccination sessions for this purpose, as ownership of mobile phones, address proof, pre-registering on CoWIN is not mandatory.

According to the SOP, the session facilitates registration of such beneficiaries without mandatory capturing of mobile number and photo ID card, through facilitated cohort registration. However, the facility is only available at government CVCs.

Information such as name, year of birth (as provided by the beneficiary) and gender will be entered in the CoWIN system for the beneficiaries which shall be verified by the Key Facilitator. Also, a digital vaccination certificate will be provided to the beneficiaries, preferably at the vaccination center itself.

The SOP issued by the Government aims to include the people who do not have any identity card but cannot be left out for this reason.

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