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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Cannot leave people of Delhi in mess: HC on shortage of Covaxin

The Delhi government told the court that it had made preparations for vaccinating the people with Covaxin on the basis of assurances received from Bharat Biotech regarding the supply of 5 lakh doses in May.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: June 5, 2021 8:38:09 am
A woman gets vaccinated in New Delhi. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

The Delhi High Court on Friday told the Centre that it “cannot leave people of Delhi in mess like this” and asked it and the Delhi government to find a solution to the issue of shortage of Covaxin to ensure those who have received its first dose are able to get the second dose within the stipulated time.

“You cannot leave these people in the lurch. Delhi government has said they have inoculated 1.5 lakh people. The question is that, out of 1.5 lakh, I take it 20,000-30,000 have got themselves (vaccinated) from left, right, private. The remaining 1.20 lakh have to be given the second dose before they complete six weeks,” observed Justice Rekha Palli.

The Delhi government told the court that it had made preparations for vaccinating the people with Covaxin on the basis of assurances received from Bharat Biotech regarding the supply of 5 lakh doses in May. However, it said the same was not fulfilled by the manufacturer.

The court observed that the government on May 12 was aware that it would not be receiving the promised supply and should have stopped providing the first dose to people. “They could have gone for some other vaccine or waited… You have gone on till May 24 even though you were well aware that you will not get it,” the court said, adding the state was “overconfident” about the supply.

It further observed that the government is now saying that it cannot do anything. The government counsel submitted the entire question now is about the supply which has to be dealt with by the manufacturer.  “We can keep blaming each other but that will not serve any purpose,” the state government said.

The court was hearing petitions filed by three petitioners seeking a direction to ensure they are inoculated with the second dose of Covaxin vaccine since they have already received the first dose. “At the time of inoculating the petitioner with the first dose, the respondents (government) were well aware that the second dose would fall due. However, no steps were taken to ensure that the second dose is made available to the petitioner,” one of the petition argues.

The court listed the case for further hearing on Monday.

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