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Home / India / Union government plea against Kerala HC order on Covishield

Union government plea against Kerala HC order on Covishield

The single-judge bench had allowed the appeal by Kitex citing concessions given to NRIs and students travelling abroad
The government has stated that the decision to increase the dose interval of the Covishield vaccine was based on scientific evidences and expert opinion as per available efficacy data.

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore   |   Published 24.09.21, 01:33 AM

The Union government has filed an appeal before Kerala High Court against its order reducing the interval between two doses of Covishield vaccine to 28 days from 84 days.

The appeal was filed on Wednesday against the September 6 order of the single-judge bench of Justice P.B. Suresh Kumar that allowed Kitex Garments Ltd’s petition to administer the second dose of Covishield after 28 days of the first one.

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The order had meant that people across the country would have benefited from the shorter interval between the two doses of the vaccine just like the indigenously manufactured Covaxin.

The Centre’s appeal is based on the argument that the order of the single-judge bench was against the policy of the Union government that had opposed the Kitex plea for shortening the duration citing better efficacy in the 84-day interval.

“The precedent if allowed to stay would set at naught the national policy for administration of vaccine and would cause serious prejudice for the larger segment. The judgment would militate against the settled position that in matters related to government supported by scientific study, the Court shall not meddle with or substitute its view with the view of the administration,” The Union government represented by assistant solicitor-general P. Vijayakumar stated in the appeal.

In seeking the dismissal of Kitex’s petition, the Union government had stated that “the decision to increase the dose interval of Covishield vaccine was based on scientific evidences and expert opinion as per available efficacy data”.

But the single-judge bench had allowed the plea by Kitex citing concessions given to NRIs and students travelling abroad. “If the government can permit persons who are intending to travel abroad to exercise a choice between early protection and better protection from Covid-19 infection, there is absolutely no reason why the same privilege shall not be extended to others who want early protection in connection with their employment, education etc,” the court had said.

In its order, the single-judge bench had pointed out the absence of any compulsion on the people to get vaccinated. Hence, it had ruled, there was no reason for the government to stop them from taking an early second dose.

Though the court had ordered the Centre to rectify its Cowin app to allow registration of the second dose of Covishield any time after 28 days of the first dose, the petitioner did not benefit from the order because the government did not make the changes.

Sajeev T.K., general manager of Kitex Garments Ltd based in Kizhakkambalam in Ernakulam, told The Telegraph on Thursday that about 80 per cent of the employees who completed the 84-day interval had been inoculated. “We could have administered the second dose to all our employees and their families in just a few days if the government had modified the Cowin application,” he said.

One of the biggest garment manufacturers in Kerala, Kitex had procured 10,000 second doses of Covishield through a private hospital to inoculate its employees and their family members.

He said the company would continue the fight to reduce the vaccine interval as it would help others across the country. “Reducing the gap would only help people get faster protection from the Covid virus. So we will continue this fight,” he said.



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