Kar HC | 1/3rd of beneficiaries who have completed six weeks will get second dose of COVAXIN and remaining two-third will not get it

Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench of Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, CJ and Aravind Kumar J. gave a slew of directions regarding vaccine allocation.

The following recommendations have been accepted by the Government of India

(a) The second dose of COVISHIELD can be administered after an interval of 12 to 16 weeks from the date of the first dose instead of the interval of 6 to 8 weeks; and

(b) The interval between the two doses of COVAXIN of 4 to 6 weeks remains unchanged.

The Court thus directed “it is imperative for all concerned to ensure that the recommendations of the body of experts which are accepted by the Government of India are followed in its true letter and spirit.”

Submissions made by State and Central Government

  • The Mission Director, National Health Mission has addressed letters to the Deputy Commissioners of all Districts and Special Commissioner of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to utilise 100% of the allocated vaccines for the second dose.
  • All Health Care Workers and Frontline Workers in the age group of 18 to 44 years can also avail the second dose of vaccine.
  • 70% of the allocated doses of COVISHIELD and 100% of the allocated doses of COVAXIN have been ordered to be kept reserved for the second dose
  • The administration of the first dose of COVAXIN has been stopped and first dose of COVISHIELD is being administered only to the Health Care Workers and the Frontline Workers
  • 9,17,310 free doses will be supplied by the Central Government to Karnataka and 7,04,050 doses can be directly procured by the State

COVISHIELD

The Court observed that “as far as COVISHIELD is concerned, looking at the larger picture, by taking the aforesaid figures as correct, there is going to be a huge shortage. The State Government will place on record what efforts it has made to procure 7, 04,050 doses.”

COVAXIN

The Court after taking stock of the situation observed “one-third of the beneficiaries who have completed six weeks will get the second dose and the remaining two-third will not get it. This is a very sorry state of affairs.”

The Court directed the State Government to place on record what steps it has taken to procure 2,44,170 doses of COVAXIN.

The Court further observed that “Both the Governments are under an obligation to see that everyone who has taken the first dose must get the second dose within the time interval fixed by the experts.”

Administration of the second dose

It was observed that the State Government cannot create a situation in which those who are above 60 years do not get the second dose, but those who are in the age group of 44 to 60 years get the second dose. The second aspect is about the administration of the first and second dose of vaccines by the private agencies.

The Court observed, “the Central Government will have to take a stand on this issue whether in the context of the situation prevailing in the State of Karnataka; the private agencies can be permitted to administer the first dose of vaccine.”

[Mohammed Arif Jameel v. Union of India,  2021 SCC OnLine Kar 12466, decided on 20-05-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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