HC slams State govt. for not following Centre’s advisories

An elderly woman receiving a vaccine dose at a vaccination centre in Bengaluru on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Questioning why the State government overlooked a series of advisories by the Centre on need of timely administration of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines, the High Court of Karnataka on Thursday said that the people of Karnataka would not have faced such a desperate situation to get the second dose had the State adhered to the advisories issued since April.

The court directed the State government to adhere to the advisories on priority to be given on the second and submit to the Central government the district-wise need of two types of vaccine for the second dose.

A Special Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar, issued the directions while noticing that the Central government’s advisories were very clear on the timely completion of second dose.

The Bench, from the advisories issued on April 14, April 29 and May 6, found that the Centre had categorically stated the requirement of completing two doses of vaccine within prescribed scheduled and on prioritising vaccine for the second doses.

‘Come clean’

“The government must tell the truth to the public. Let people unnecessarily not go to vaccination centres. You (State government) must come clean,” the Bench orally observed while pointing out the inconsistency in the data of vaccine required for the second dose and serious lapses on the part of State government in timely administration of second dose.

The Bench pointed out that the data submitted earlier indicated requirement of 26,08,907 doses of the vaccine for administration of second dose to those who have already completed 4 to 6 weeks from taking the first dose.

However, the data submitted by the State government on Thursday stated that only 19,97,729 doses were required for the second dose, the Bench said. It also noticed from the submissions of amicus curie Vikram Hilgol that an additional around 5.28 lakh doses of vaccine were required for health and frontline workers for the second dose.

To a query by the Bench on what happens if the second dose is not given within the ideal period of 4 to 8 weeks, Aishwarya Bhati, Additional Solicitor General of India, said that an expert group is likely to give its view on this aspect within a couple of days.

“India cannot afford to waste even a single dose of vaccine,” she said, while assuring the Bench that Centre would make an endeavour to make sufficient allocation of vaccine for second dose while pointing out that Karnataka has efficiently used vaccine doses as wastage is not much.

On a query whether Karnataka committed default of Centre’s advisories, she said that Centre jointly with States wants to ensure vaccination of citizens, and its is for the States to implement its advisories.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 10:18:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-slams-state-govt-for-not-following-centres-advisories/article34552947.ece

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