27 Aug 2021 3:50 AM GMT
The Central government informed the Kerala High Court on Thursday that clinical trials are underway to ascertain the efficacy of administering a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and that it will take another few months to reach completion. Justice P.B Suresh Kumar was told that the only remedy left for the petitioner was to wait till the results of the clinical trials were ready. The...
The Central government informed the Kerala High Court on Thursday that clinical trials are underway to ascertain the efficacy of administering a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and that it will take another few months to reach completion.
Justice P.B Suresh Kumar was told that the only remedy left for the petitioner was to wait till the results of the clinical trials were ready.
The above submission was made while opposing a plea seeking administration of a third dose of an internationally recognized vaccine for NRIs who had already received two doses of Covaxin, which is not globally recognized for international travel.
The petitioner, an NRI who works in Saudi Arabia had been administered two doses of Covaxin upon arriving in India.
However, pursuant to administering the vaccine, he came to know that Covaxin was not recognized by the Government of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom only approves Covishield, which is the equivalent of AstraZeneca.
Therefore, the petitioner moved the court for a third jab and if not vaccinated with an internationally recognised vaccine, he could lose his job in Saudi.
In his plea, the petitioner had urged that it was time to explore mixed doses of COVID 19 vaccines.
However, during the proceedings, the Centre submitted that the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) is the body empowered to formulate a policy on vaccination and that it was still considering the efficacy of administering a third dose.
The petitioner while responding to this objection argued that he was ready to take the risk, since otherwise it could cost him his employment.
Further, the Centre contended that a mix and match model of vaccination was not yet approved by any expert body here.
The Court after recording the submissions of the Cenral government inquired as to why the petitioner could be permitted to take the third dose at his own risk as he suggested to save his livelihood.
Noticing that the Centre was not willing to provide him a job or to mediate with the Saudi government on his behalf, the Court emphasises that the WHO was yet to approve Covaxin.
It also questioned that with the clinical trials on the efficacy of the third jab still ongoing, how will the petitioner survive without a job?
"Nobody wants to burn their fingers," the Bench remarked at the Centre's hesitation to provide the petitioner with a third dose.
The Court added that when a man has approached the Court seeking protection of his livelihood, how can the court say that it cannot help him?
The petitioner submitted that there were news reports which evidencing that the head of Serum Institute had recommended taking third "booster" jabs and has also taken it.
The Court reserved order in the matter.
The Centre had earlier filed an affidavit in the court contending that a third dose cannot be administered to those who have already taken two doses of a vaccine.
Case Title: Girikumar Thekan Kuunumpurath v. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare & Ors