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Supreme Court orders government to review vaccine policy; experts discuss impact

Updated : June 04, 2021 12:22:40 IST

Last week, the Supreme Court pointed out "various flaws" in the government's vaccination plan and on June 3, the court issued an order calling for a review of the policy.

It also called the decision to make people in the 18-44 age group pay for vaccines at private hospitals "arbitrary" and "irrational."

The apex court has given the government two weeks to submit a detailed report on the status of the inoculation drive and the plan going forward.

The government has also been asked to share a detailed break-up of the number of people who have been vaccinated, how many have received only one dose, how many have received both doses, and the percentage of vaccinated people by rural and urban residence.

The top court's order comes after several ministers went on record to say all adults in India will be vaccinated by the end of the year.

The court has also asked the Centre to give clarity on vaccine procurement, especially on why states are being told to procure doses at a higher price when the Centre can buy it at a much lower rate.

The Centre also needs to present data regarding the purchase history of Covaxin, Covishield, and Sputnik V vaccines to date, and any financial assistance or payments that have been given for these vaccines, the court said.

While passing these orders, the bench said, "Our constitution does not envisage courts to be silent spectators when constitutional rights of citizens are infringed by executive policies."

To discuss this, Shereen Bhan spoke to Dr. Giridhara Babu, Head of Lifecourse Epidemiology at PHFI; Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director at Population Foundation of India and Anand Grover, SC Lawyer and Counsel of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan.

Watch the video for more.
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