Resentment prevails in veterinarians and para veterinarians with the Animal Husbandry department in Himachal Pradesh for their non inclusion in the list of government employees to get COVID-19 vaccine.

The veterinarians and para veterinarians rue the step motherly treatment by the state government despite the fact that the Government of India had asked the states to consider veterinary services in the list of ‘essential services’ in Covid-19 pandemic ahead of the lockdown on 23 March, 2020 and they have hence been giving duties all through the Covid.

In a representation to the Additional Chief Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Himachal Pradesh government, the General Secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Veterinary Officers Association (HPVOA), Dr Madhur Gupta brought to her notice that after a meeting of Association office bearers with her on 3 February 2021 on the issue and her nod for the same, a request letter from Director Animal Husbandry was sent to her office wide letter no 4-19/72-Vety-12 5045 dated 18-02-2021 for vaccination of vets and para vets in the state.

Dr Gupta said the veterinarians and field staff of the department have worked tirelessly and dedicatedly for the welfare of animals and livestock farmers of the state in the hospitals and at the doorstep 24X7 during the tough time of Covid-19 pandemic.

“It feels humiliating and discouraging for non-inclusion and not recognizing the services and hard work of the department for the society during this phase,” he said in the representation.

Dr Gupta said while discharging our services and duties in the field, handling animals, the vets and para vets were at severe risk of catching Covid infection.

The Association urged the ACS to take up the matter with the government to acknowledge the services of the vets and para vets in HP during Covid-19 lockdown by including them for Covid-19 vaccination.

It is pertinent to mention that as per a letter by Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying ahead of Covid lockdown on 23 March, 2020, the states and UTs were asked to ensure continuous emergency services in the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary sector, especially in emergent animal health situations.

The letter said that the veterinary hospitals and dispensaries , including private veterinary clinics, veterinary pathologies, animal shelters etc function in the normal course and the veterinary services be considered in the list of ‘Essential Services’.

The vets and para vets have since been doing duties continuously, but their demand to include them for Covid vaccination is unheard of despite repeated requests.