September 20, 2021 1:11:16 pm
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a plea seeking door-to-door Covid-19 vaccination for disabled and another on vaccination for pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Seeking the centre’s response on the first plea filed by NGO Evara Foundation, a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and B V Nagarathna said it “raises substantial questions dealing with the rights of the disabled”. The court also asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to assist it regarding steps to assuage the concerns of petitioners.
Appearing for the foundation, Advocate Pankaj Singh pointed out that the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had advocated doorstep vaccination and that some states were doing this.
The plea also sought provisions for preference in scheduling vaccination, a dedicated helpline for this in addition to the CoWin portal and easy access to vaccination centres.
The bench, however, declined the request to issue notice to states, saying “if we issue notice to states, it will take two months. Let us first see what the centre does”.
The second petition was filed by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR). Appearing for the commission, advocate Vrinda Grover said the plea was filed in May this year and that the centre had subsequently brought out operational guidelines for Covid-19 vaccination of pregnant and lactating women. Certain concerns were yet to be addressed, she added.
She said that given the fact that it is a new virus strain about which there is little knowledge, there is a need for scientific research to study its effects on pregnant & lactating women. There is also the need to create a registry for ensuring continuous monitoring, she said.
The plea contended that pregnant women and lactating mothers are a high-risk category and sought setting up of separate vaccination centres for them saying this was necessary to protect them from infection. It also urged that Anganwadi Centres and Asha Workers should be involved in the vaccination drive to reach out to pregnant women and lactating mothers belonging to weaker socio-economic backgrounds.
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