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'Let's Wait For WHO Decision On COVAXIN' : Supreme Court Adjourns Plea For Re-Vaccination Option

Mehal Jain
29 Oct 2021 6:52 AM GMT
Lets Wait For WHO Decision On COVAXIN : Supreme Court Adjourns Plea For Re-Vaccination Option
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The Supreme Court on Friday posted for after the Diwali vacation a PIL seeking that in view of COVAXIN not having received WHO approval, individuals who have received COVAXIN shots to be re-vaccinated with COVISHIELD.The petition prays for directions to the UOI, Directorate General of Health Services, ICMR and Bharat Biotech to 'not restrain those who voluntarily, at their own costs and risk...

The Supreme Court on Friday posted for after the Diwali vacation a PIL seeking that in view of COVAXIN not having received WHO approval, individuals who have received COVAXIN shots to be re-vaccinated with COVISHIELD.

The petition prays for directions to the UOI, Directorate General of Health Services, ICMR and Bharat Biotech to 'not restrain those who voluntarily, at their own costs and risk wish to get Covishield administered to them after having already received two doses of COVAXIN". It is sought that the UOI be directed to issue a revised Standard of Procedure and guidelines allowing re-vaccination of fully vaccinated persons with another vaccine on voluntary payment of the person at his own risks and costs.

Besides, directions are sought to the aforesaid respondents to issue and release official data, record, timeline and reasons of delay in the approval of COVAXIN vaccine; to state the reason for giving approval to COVAXIN vaccine for administration to persons in India pending the results of third phase trials of the same; and to publish actual data and records submitted to the WHO for the purpose of obtaining approval of WHO in favour of COVAXIN vaccine and issue a statement with reasons in detail delaying the approval of COVAXIN vaccine.

"It has been reported that Bharat Biotech (in respect of COVAXIN) has submitted the latest round of clarifications to WHO. The decision is expected to come. We are reading the newspaper just like you. Let's wait for a little bit, until after Diwali. If the authorisation from WHO comes, there will be no difficulty", observed Justice D. Y. Chandrachud.
When the petitioner-in-person, an advocate, urged the inconvenience being caused to students, among others, travelling abroad, who are finding it difficult to do so because of the lack of recognition to COVAXIN, Justice Chandrachud remarked, "How can we say that people who have received shots of 1 vaccine once now be subject to another vaccine? We don't know what the complications will be. We can't play with people's lives. We don't know what the repercussions will be"
The petitioner-in-person pressed, "For COVISHIELD, the submission of documents to WHO was done in one go in December, 2020 and the authorisation came through. I have put a list of all seven vaccines which have received WHO approval..."
"This is why we are hesitant in dealing with these matters under Article 32. We don't want this to be at the behest of some competitor who is pushing this petition as some sort of sidewind against COVAXIN. Competitors use the Supreme Court as a tool to exercise their interests...", said the judge.
When the petitioner-in-person pressed that the matter is entirely in public interest, Justice Chandrachud said, "You also ascertain the position. We will also ascertain the position. If the authorisation comes, your purpose is fulfilled"
The bench then posted the matter post the Diwali break.

Case Title: Kartik Seth v Union of India


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