Andhra govt cites gram panchayat polls, says can't vaccinate frontline workers due to 'logistical' issue

In a letter to Centre, the state government said that due to the massive deployment of manpower and their movement during the polls, the vaccination program would be disturbed

Press Trust of India January 26, 2021 17:46:20 IST
Andhra govt cites gram panchayat polls, says can't vaccinate frontline workers due to 'logistical' issue

File image of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. Facebook/Jagan Mohan Reddy

Amravati: Virtually saying it cannot vaccinate frontline workers because of the scheduled elections to the gram panchayats, the Andhra Pradesh government on Monday night wrote to the Centre "seeking guidance" on the further road ahead to achieve the twin objectives of (COVID- 19) vaccination and conduct of elections.

Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das wrote to Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to this effect. "The State Election Commission has announced elections to the gram panchayats and the election process has started.

There are approximately 1.35 lakh polling stations and around five lakh staff will be deployed for election duty, which includes police, panchayat raj, revenue and education departments, who comprise the frontline workers," he said.

"The same frontline workers would be deployed to different polling stations in multiple locations. The issue was more acute in the case of police personnel, who were only 73,188 in number, but have to be deployed to 1.35 lakh polling stations", Das pointed out.

Each police personnel would have to be deployed to three polling stations on an average on rotation, by moving them from one location to another, as some of them would also be other bandobast duties.

"Simultaneously, all the polling personnel are deployed away from their place of work and their residence. This will lead to huge logistical problems and the polling personnel will not be able to be vaccinated as they will be deployed elsewhere from the session site allocated to them," the Chief Secretary said.

He also pointed out that those given the first dose at one location would not be available at the same location for the second dose. Further, the process of vaccination requires a period of observation.

"AEFI protocol has to be followed where continuous monitoring of the vaccine recipient is mandated to minimize any untoward outcomes. It is advisable that the recipients are not put to unnecessary stress and they have to be provided with an environment of low-stress and monitored closely," he noted.

Both the vaccination and elections ought to be undertaken as per the directions of the High Court and the Supreme Court.

"In this backdrop, we seek your guidance on the further road ahead to achieve the twin objectives of vaccination and conduct of elections," Das wrote.

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