Madras HC | A person can be a silent carrier of COVID-19 on not taking vaccine: Can Right to Refuse Vaccine in such circumstances be exercised? Read HC’s opinion

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, J., expressed that vaccinating oneself may not only be to protect oneself but also in the larger interest of public health.

As per the State Government’s report, adequate measures were taken to vaccinate persons with disabilities, particularly the ones who were homebound.

Another significant point that was noted from the state report was that there was reluctance in some quarters to take the vaccine.

Bench asked the State to try and persuade persons with awareness campaigns and scientific data to indicate the efficacy of the vaccines and the indispensable nature in dealing with the present pandemic.

Right to Refuse Vaccine: Can it be exercised?

Bench opined that when a larger interest of public health comes into play, it is possible that a person who has not taken the vaccine may not reveal the symptoms but still be a silent carrier, it is doubtful whether in such circumstances the right to refuse vaccine can be exercised.

While concluding, High Court hoped that all persons with disabilities, irrespective of status and resources, are taken care of by the State in due course.

Matter to be taken up in 4 weeks, i.e. on 28-08-2021 since vaccination drive in the State had only begun in right earnest, though larger supplies of vaccine were awaited. [M. Karpagam v. Commissionerate for the Welfare of Differently Abled, WP No. 11850 of 2021, decided on 30-06-2021]

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