UP health minister denies existence of 'no vaccination' order for non-residents between 18 and 44 years
Despite severe criticism, the UP Government is yet to withdraw its order dated May 7. It has argued that since the state government is purchasing the vaccines, it has to prioritise UP residents.
The order that only residents of Uttar Pradesh between the age of 18-44 years would be vaccinated in state run centres, has dismayed a large number of migrants from other states working in Uttar Pradesh. People commuting from neighbouring states and those with permanent addresses in far-off states have been equally affected. But the state government is yet to clarify what such people are required to do. It cannot expect people to travel back to their home states just to get vaccinated.
The state's health minister, however, appeared to have no clue to the directive. Asked, he added to the confusion by claiming that only registration was required for the vaccination.
The directive in this regard has been sent to the District Magistrates and Chief Medical Officers of the state. The argument put forth by the government is as UP is purchasing vaccines for 18-44 years of age, why people from other states should benefit from this.
Following this order officials have been asked to ensure that people from other states do not get vaccines in designated centres across Uttar Pradesh
The order was issued by the Director Health Mission, Aparna Upadhaya. On her May 7, 2021 order (SPMU/NHM/RR/2021-22/60 414-2) she said: “We have come to know that in few districts the online registration of 18-44 years is being done by people from other states and later they are getting vaccinated. Thus, the residents of Uttar Pradesh are being deprived of this vaccination facility. As the Uttar Pradesh Government is purchasing vaccines from its own resources to vaccinate people between 18-44 years, it should be ensured that people who are being vaccinated are only from Uttar Pradesh.”
Uttar Pradesh shares borders with many states like Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Rajasthan – where the official claim pace of vaccination is slow - and youths are getting themselves registered and getting jabs in UP.
The registration is done through Aadhar card, which carries the address of the beneficiary.
In UP vaccination for 18+ has started from May 1. Initially, it was in seven districts and from May 6 it was expanded to 11 more districts.
Government has placed orders to private companies to purchase 1 crore doses and has also floated a global tender to purchase 4 crore vaccine doses.
The order has put many people who are from other states but are working in UP in a quandary. Sudhakar Shah is one, who is working in the Public sector and lives in Noida, but actually belongs to Uttarakhand. “How can the government stop me from getting a vaccine? This is a national campaign and I work in a government of India controlled Public sector,” he asks.
The Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh however claimed there is no such order. “The only mandatory clause for vaccination is registration. The bona fide residence proof is not required,” he said, adding to the confusion.