Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Covaxin Not Recognized Globally: Kerala High Court Issues Notice On Plea Seeking Booster Dose To Facilitate International Travel

Hannah M Varghese
5 Aug 2021 4:45 AM GMT
Covaxin Not Recognized Globally: Kerala High Court Issues Notice On Plea Seeking Booster Dose To Facilitate International Travel
x
The mix and match model has been approved by several medical experts, the plea states.

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday issued notice on a plea seeking administration of 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. Advocate Manas P Hameed appeared on behalf of the petitioner. The petitioner is a Non-Resident Indian who works at Saudi Arabia....

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday issued notice on a plea seeking administration of 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. Advocate Manas P Hameed appeared on behalf of the petitioner. 

The petitioner is a Non-Resident Indian who works at Saudi Arabia. He returned to India in January 2021 due to the second wave of the pandemic in Saudi. During his stay in India, he received two doses of Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech International Ltd.

However, pursuant to administering the vaccine, the petitioner 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, he submitted.

Therefore, now the petitioner would be considered a non-vaccinated person in Saudi Arabia, and hence will not be permitted to enter the country from India.  

He added that even if he manages to enter the country through connecting countries, he will still have to undergo mandatory quarantine and subject himself to another set of vaccines approved in Saudi Arabia, the entire process of which will cost him approximately three lakhs. 

The contention of the petitioner is that he would not have taken Covaxin if the authorities had given prior notice to the public about non-recognition of Covaxin by the World Health Organization and other countries. The lack of such disclosure has proven to jeopardize international travelers who work abroad, the plea alleged.

The petitioner is due to return to Saudi Arabia before 30th August as per the Visa. He contends that unless he joins duty by the stipulated time, it will cost him his job. 

This leaves him with the option of registering for the third dose of an internationally recognized vaccine. However, there is no provision for one to book for a third slot on the website with his passport details. As per the guidelines mentioned on the website, a person cannot register for the second time with the same identification document for the vaccine.  

However, the 'mix and match' mode of administering Covid-19 vaccines is recognized in several countries across the globe, the petition asserted. To support this statement, he has cited several reports by recognized Committees  

In fact, several experts have recommended this model of vaccination and called it a booster vaccination to augment the immune responses against the virus, states the plea. Another report by Reuters was also produced to show that this approach increased the neutralizing antibody levels by almost 6 times than receiving two doses of the same vaccine. 

The petitioner has also used a study conducted by Oxford University to show that a third dose could bring about a strong immune response.  In fact, he submitted that Israel had initiated the model by offering a third shot of vaccine to its citizens in an attempt to slow the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. 

He also submitted that the Government of Quebec in Canada had offered an extra dose of globally recognised vaccine to people who required the same for international travel. 

However, the petitioner alleged that India had not yet come up with a remedy for international travel of its NRI citizens who had already taken Covaxin. This inaction on part of the respondents was alleged to be unfair and liable to cause serious repercussions to him.

The petitioner, therefore, urged that it was time to explore mixed doses of COVID 19 vaccines. Moreover, it was prayed that a direction may be issued to the respondents to notify the public regarding the non-approval of Covaxin by the WHO and other countries. 

Case Title: Girikumar Thekan Kuunumpurath v. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare & Ors

Next Story