New Delhi, January 17
The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that no person can be administered Covid-19 vaccine against his/her will even as it said people to get vaccinated in the larger public interest.
In an affidavit filed in the top court, the Union health ministry said the government has not issued any SOP which made it mandatory for anybody to carry a vaccination certificate for any purpose.
The affidavit has been filed in response to NGO Evara Foundation’s petition seeking door-to-door priority Covid-19 vaccination for persons with disabilities.
With regard to exempting persons with disabilities from producing vaccination certificates, the affidavit stated that it has not issued any SOP that made it mandatory to carry the vaccination certificate for any purpose.
The affidavit said: “It is duly advised, advertised and communicated through various print and social media platforms that all citizens should get vaccinated and systems and processes have been designed to facilitate the same”. However, no person can be forced to be vaccinated against their wishes.”
The union health ministry submitted that “the direction and guidelines released by Government of India and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare do not envisage any forcible vaccination without obtaining consent of the concerned individual.”
However, it sought to emphasize that “vaccination for Covid-19 is of larger public interest in view of the ongoing pandemic situation.”
Meanwhile, Dr Jacob Puliyel—a former member of the National Technical Advisory Group of Immunization – has moved the top court challenging the vaccine mandates issued by the governments of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Dr Puliyel—who also urged the court to issue directions to publicize the data of clinical trials and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines administered to children—pointed out that the Centre has said that vaccination was voluntary and can’t be mandated at this stage.
Contending that children were incapable of legal consent to the vaccines, he said the parents who gave consent on their behalf were incapable of giving “informed consent” in the absence of studies and data on the benefits and adverse effects of vaccines on children.
He wondered how the states could make vaccination mandatory for opening shops, retaining employment, entering educational institutions and even stepping out on public streets.
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