Kerala High Court asks Centre to give date by which COVID vaccine can be supplied

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The Kerala High Court has asked the Centre to suggest the date by which COVID vaccines could be made available for Kerala.

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court consisting of Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan and Justice M.R. Anita issued the direction on a Public Interest Litigation seeking to issue directions to the Centre to set aside its liberalised pricing and Accelerated National COVID 19 Vaccination strategy, which, according to the petitioners, provided for differential pricing for the vaccine supplied to Centre and the State governments.

The petitioners also sought orders to the Centre to procure and distribute vaccines to the State government free of costs for all age groups and to transfer the technology of manufacturing Covaxin along with cell lines to all manufacturers interested and capable of manufacturing the vaccine.

The court, while considering the petition, orally observed that the incidents of death due to COVID could be brought down significantly through vaccination and the vaccination drive could not be delayed any further.

The counsel for the Centre submitted that an expert committee appointed by the Supreme court was monitoring the distribution of vaccines.

The State Attorney submitted to the court to ensure steps for the distribution of vaccines to the State.

Dr. K.P. Aravindan and others, the petitioners in the case, sought the intervention of the court to fix a price ceiling for the vaccines and to expedite the acquisition of vaccines from all available national and international resources.

The petitioners moved the court in the “light of the faulty approach of the unconscionable vaccination policies” adopted by the centre, which disregarded the “rights and sensitivities of certain sections of the society.”

They argued that the State has the onus to ensure universal immunisation in a swift and steadfast manner.

The petitioners contended that State needs to take immediate steps to ensure that vaccine reaches very citizen of the country considering the “onslaught of the second wave of the Corona virus in India, the explosive spread of virus and the accompanying set of dire circumstances where people are dying outside hospitals waiting got oxygen.”

The court will consider the case on May 21.

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