Formulate an action plan to provide vaccines to the disabled: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court directed the State Government directing the State Government to come out with a scheme for providing vaccination to the persons with benchmark disability. A single judge bench of Abhay Oka CJI, in The Re Karnataka High Court case; [W.P.No.6435/2020]; dealt with the issue of providing vaccination to the disabled and those from the age group pf 18-44.

The facts of the case are as follows. The broad policy of the Government of India is that the State quota of vaccines of each State will be divided into two parts. The first part is of 50% which will be of free supply of vaccines by the Government of India to the State Governments. The State Governments are required to use this quota for free vaccination. As far as the remaining 50% is concerned, 25% quota can be procured by the State Government by directly placing the orders with the manufacturers/suppliers. Even the said quota of 25% is required to be utilized by the State Government for free vaccination. The remaining 25% can be utilized by authorized private hospitals and private agencies by purchasing vaccines directly from the manufacturers/suppliers. In the written submissions, the State Government has set out its requirement of the quantity of vaccines which will be sufficient to give the second dose to the beneficiaries who have taken the first dose.

The learned Advocate General was categorical in making a statement that no beneficiary in the State who has taken the first dose of COVAXIN will be denied the second dose of COVAXIN as and when it becomes due. The learned Advocate General also stated that the State Government has stopped giving the first dose of COVAXIN to any person falling in any of the age groups or any of the categories. In fact, the State Government is relying upon the advisory issued by it to the private agencies who are administering vaccines from 25% quota to utilize the available stock of COVAXIN at their respective health care 3 facilities as a second dose for the age group of 45 plus who are awaiting for the second dose.

The Court upon considering the aforesaid facts stated that; “As vaccination is one of the most effective modes of controlling the spread of COVID-19 virus, the State Government will have to come out with an action plan in what manner they are going to provide vaccination to the persons belonging to the age group of 45 plus and to the age group of 18-44 years starting with first dose. As of today, from the figures which are placed on record, it appears to be very difficult for the State Government to give first dose of vaccination to the persons belonging to the age group of 45 plus and to the age group of 18-44 years. The State Government will also have to come out with an action plan showing in what manner they are going to administer vaccine to the persons belonging to this category who, due to their disability, will not be in a position to go to the vaccination centres or Government hospitals.”

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