The Delhi government on Monday informed the High Court that it has directed all government centres, private hospitals and nursing homes that Covaxin will only be administered to those in the 18-44 age group who had received it as first dose.
It further informed that an additional 40,000 vials of Covaxin had been received on June 6. The court was hearing three pleas filed by persons who were finding it difficult to get the second dose of Covaxin after getting the first jab.
18-44 age group
Justice Rekha Palli commended the proactive steps taken by the Centre and Delhi government to address Covaxin shortage, especially for people who had taken the first dose and were struggling to get a second dose before the six-week window expires.
The HC was informed that the Delhi Chief Secretary issued an order on June 6 stating that the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has directed all private hospitals and nursing homes functioning as COVID vaccination centres for Covaxin to inoculate only those in the 18-44 age group and eligible for a second dose during June.
On June 3, the Health Department of the Delhi government had issued similar directions for government vaccination centres.
One of the petitions, filed by advocate Kushal Kumar, sought direction to authorities to urgently provide a second dose of Covaxin to them as their allotted time period for the second dose is about to end. The plea said the allotted time period for the second dose of vaccine is between May 31 to June 14.
Unable to book slot
Another petition was moved by lawyer Ashish Virmani, who received the first dose of Covaxin on May 3 and since May 29 has been unable to book a slot for receiving the second jab, which has to be taken within six weeks of the first dose. Subsequently, he had to travel to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh to receive the second dose, advocate Pallav Mongia, representing Mr. Virmani, had told the court.
A third petition, filed by Rajeev Parashar, stated he was administered the first dose of Covaxin on March 4 and the second dose has to be administered between June 1-15.
Mr. Parashar, 35, said the Delhi government’s decision to put the vaccination drive for 18-44 age group on hold till June 10 puts him at significant risk of not getting the second dose in time.
During the hearing, the petitioners stated there are many citizens whose six-week period will end on June 14. If they do not get the second jab in time then the whole exercise will be rendered futile, they added.
The government counsel sought time to take instructions on this aspect and the HC posted the matter for further hearing on June 11. The HC also asked the counsel to examine whether slots for second dose could be increased.
The Centre said the CoWin system sends automatic SMS to beneficiaries every third day — starting three days before the second dose due date — till the beneficiary books an appointment.
This article was originally published on The Hindu