India’s top court directs federal government to show data on procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, slams vaccination policy

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COVID 19 vaccine

India’s top court has asked the federal government to produce complete data on its purchase history of three types of COVID-19 vaccines.

“The data should clarify the dates of all procurement orders placed by the central (federal) government for all three vaccines, the quality of vaccines as ordered on each date, and the projected date of supply,” the Supreme Court in its order said on Wednesday.

The three vaccines are Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin (both with two-dose regimen), and Russia-made Sputnik V (administered in single dose). India is currently administrating two made-in-India vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin. Though consignments of Russian-made Sputnik V vaccines have also arrived in India, they are yet to be rolled out.

The apex court also sought to know from the government the percentage of the country’s population that has been vaccinated with a single dose and with double doses in the first three phases of the nationwide vaccination drive. The top court directed the government to outline how it plans to vaccinate the remaining population.

Meanwhile, the court described the government’s policy of giving free vaccination to the 45-plus age group and having a paid system for those below as “prima facie arbitrary and irrational.” The government has said it will vaccinate the eligible population by December this year.

The hearing on the government’s vaccination policy comes at a time when several states have complained of a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses.Since the beginning of the vaccination drive on January 16, the number of vaccine doses administered across the country stood at 218,546,667, the federal health ministry said Wednesday morning.

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