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Monday, November 29, 2021

Can’t play with people’s lives by directing revaccination with Covishield without any data: SC

Advocate Kartik Seth, appearing in person, argued that each day a number of people willing to go abroad are being denied entry to other countries as Covaxin is not recognised by the WHO.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 29, 2021 10:33:41 pm
A health worker prepares to administer a dose of Covishield during a vaccination drive against coronavirus inside a school in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (AP Photoi)

Hearing a plea that said that people are facing difficulty in getting permission to travel abroad due to the non-recognition of Covaxin, the Supreme Court on Friday stated that it cannot play with the lives of people by directing the Centre to revaccinate people with Covishield who are fully vaccinated with Covaxin.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice BV Nagarathna said, “We cannot play with the lives of people by directing Centre to revaccinate. We don’t have any data with us. We have read in newspapers that Bharat Biotech has filed an application with the World Health Organisation for recognition. Let us wait for the response of WHO. We will take up this matter post-Diwali vacation.”

Advocate Kartik Seth, appearing in person, argued that each day a number of people willing to go abroad are being denied entry to other countries as Covaxin is not recognised by the WHO. He pointed out under the present system, a person already vaccinated with Covaxin can not register himself or herself on the CoWIN portal for Covishield jabs, and a direction can be issued to the Centre in this regard.

“We cannot pass a direction to administer another vaccine without any data. We understand your concern but let’s wait for the WHO’s response,” the SC bench said.

The court also expressed concern pointing out that competitors may try to derive advantage of the litigation in the garb of the PIL.

Seth mentioned that his PIL is purely a Public Interest Litigation as several students willing to study abroad are not allowed to enter a number of countries.

Seth’s petition also said that while rolling out Covaxin, the government did not make the people aware that WHO did not approve it. It said that Bharat Biotech, the manufacturer of the indigenous vaccine, had submitted its application for approval only in April 2021. Thereafter, in May, people came to know many countries are not allowing entry of those who are inoculated with vaccines other than those enlisted by WHO.

The plea asked for a direction to the department concerned, release of official data and causes of delay in approval to Covaxin. It also sought direction to disclose the actual data and records to the WHO in order to obtain approval in Covaxin’s favour.

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