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Please smell the coffee: Supreme Court tells govt over vaccination policy

Written by  Published in Bihar Thursday, 25 May 2017 07:42

During the top court’s suo moto hearing on Covid-19 crisis management in the country, the government explained its plan of vaccinating all citizens and claimed that the domestic production of vaccines will suffice the demands of doses.

The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it is confident of vaccinating all of the country’s adult citizens against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) by the end of this year as it faced several questions over its ongoing inoculation drive.

Highlighting the ongoing crisis of shortage of vaccine doses in the country, the top court said that the central government should take charge of sourcing the jabs for the entire country. This comes amid reports of several states floating global tenders to procure vaccine doses after facing severe scarcity.

"In a national crisis, the central government should procure vaccines for the entire country. States are left in a lurch. You should tell them that we will negotiate globally and procure vaccines for them so that there is clarity," a three-member bench of justice DY Chandrachud, justice LN Rao and justice S Ravindra Bhat told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

During the top court’s suo moto hearing on Covid-19 crisis management in the country, the government explained its plan of vaccinating all citizens and claimed that the domestic production of vaccines will suffice the demands of doses.

Solicitor General Mehta said that the doses produced by domestic vaccine manufacturers—the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Reddy's Lab—will be enough to vaccinate all over 18 years of age. The government is in talks with companies like Pfizer and if it succeeds, then the timeline for completing the vaccination would change, the top law officer said.

Seeking a broad idea of the government's plan to vaccinate people over the age of 45, the bench asked SG Mehta to explain how the logistics work out. The bench also emphasised the need for one price of the vaccine across the country, stating the deadly coronavirus pandemic has evolved in the last two months.

“The Centre says it gets low pricing since it buys in bulk. If this is the rationale, then why do states have to get a higher price. There needs to be one price for the vaccines across the nation. The pandemic has evolved in the last two months," Justice Chandrachud told the Centre.

Justice Chandrachud also asked the government how it plans to address the digital divide among rural and urban India as vaccination slots across the country can only be booked through the CoWIN mobile application.

Covid-19: What you need to know today

"What about the digital divide? For rural areas, you have said villagers can register on CoWIN app through NGOs. Our law clerks and secretaries have tried to register on CoWIN app so we know how it works," Justice Chandrachud told SG. "How are you answering the digital divide? How are you ensuring that the migrant workers are able to get vaccinated?" he asked.

SG Mehta explained that the government has allowed walk-in registrations for those over 45 and also workplace vaccinations. However, SG Mehta said that walk-in vaccination will pave way for overcrowding and waiting for people at the centres.

"Please smell the coffee. If we had to do we would have done so 15 days ago. But we want you to smell the coffee and realise what's happening in the country and make the necessary amendments," Bar and Bench reported, quoting Justice Chandrachud.

The top court bench, headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, constituted National Task Force (NTF) earlier this month to assess and recommend the need and distribution of oxygen in the country.

The 12-member National Task Force was asked to formulate a methodology for the scientific allocation of oxygen to the states and Union territories for saving lives of Covid patients and to facilitate a public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Source : ht

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Read 8557 times Last modified on Monday, 31 May 2021 08:13

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