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For Increased Efficacy Or Due To Shortage of Vaccines? Kerala High Court Seeks Clarification From Centre Regarding Prescribed Gap Between Covishield Doses

Hannah M Varghese
24 Aug 2021 9:49 AM GMT
For Increased Efficacy Or Due To Shortage of Vaccines? Kerala High Court Seeks Clarification From Centre Regarding Prescribed Gap Between Covishield Doses
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The Kerala High Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Central government regarding the 84 days gap mandated between administering the first and the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.Justice P B Suresh Kumar inquired if this gap was necessary and if it was related to the efficacy of the vaccine, or if it was extended due to the non-availability of the vaccines in the country.The...

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The Kerala High Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Central government regarding the 84 days gap mandated between administering the first and the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Justice P B Suresh Kumar inquired if this gap was necessary and if it was related to the efficacy of the vaccine, or if it was extended due to the non-availability of the vaccines in the country.

The Court sought clarity regarding the same from the Centre and directed it to revert with answers on the next hearing date. 

These questions arose before the Single Bench while hearing a plea filed by Kitex Garments Ltd seeking permission to administer the second dose of COVISHIELD vaccine to its workers as per the State's relaxed vaccination policy before the completion of 84 days. Advocate Blaze K Jose appeared for the petitioner.

Central Government Counsel Daya Sindhu Shreehari sought time to get instructions in the matter. Accordingly, the case has been listed on Thursday for further hearing.

In a previous hearing of the matter, the Court had noticed that while the Centre had extended the duration between two doses of vaccination from 4 weeks to 12-16 weeks, the State had deviated from the same by sticking to the previous policy. 

The State had previously relaxed the prevailing protocol for people going abroad. 

Upon noticing so, the Bench had addressed a couple of questions to the Centre and State respectively. 

To the State, the Court questioned how it deviated from the vaccination schedule set by the central government.

When the State had cited the instructions from the Centre as the "gospel truth" in all its circulars, the Bench inquired if the State was allowed to deviate from the same.

To this, the State responded that the Centre's protocols were violated to help people who had to go abroad for employment and were stranded here waiting to be vaccinated.

Recording so, the Bench noted that the benefit of any illegality on the part of the State cannot be extended to others.

However, the petitioner contended that there was no violation on the part of the State since the actual minimum period between two jabs of COVISHIELD was 4-6 weeks and this was the protocol followed in respect of frontline workers.

Upon hearing this submission, the Court turned to the Centre and asked why the gap between the first and second dose of COVISHIELD was increased from 4 weeks to 12-16 weeks.

The court thereby impleaded the Union Health Ministry as a party in the matter to find out why a longer gap was prescribed between the two doses of COVISHIELD.

Kitex in its plea has said that it has already vaccinated more than 5,000 of its workers with the first dose and has arranged for the second dose but was unable to administer the same due to the prevailing restrictions.

Case Title: Kitex Garments Ltd v State of Kerala

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