May 15, 2021 2:21:01 am
The Karnataka government launched the vaccination programme for 18-44 age group on May 10 despite advisories from the Centre that administering second doses to those in the 45 plus age category must get first preference, the Union government has informed the Karnataka High Court.
The bench has asked the state government to answer why the guidelines were not followed before launching inoculation drive for the 18-44 age group. The state government has sought time to respond to the court.
On Friday, the Karnataka government stopped vaccination for the 18 to 44 age segment, as it had only 11.24 lakh doses of vaccines available for nearly 19.97 lakh people above the age of 45 who are due for their second doses.
In all, there are nearly 65 lakh people awaiting second doses in the state.
“Once, as per existing timelines, the second dose is due, it is an obligation of governments to ensure the second dose is provided. If the second dose is not provided, it will be a violation of fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution,” a division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Sreenivas Oka stated on Thursday.
“While we grant time to the state to respond…it is absolutely necessary for the state government to abide by the said guidelines considering the desperate and critical situation created today due to failure to administer the second dose to about 20,00,000 citizens,” the court said in its order.