Delhi High Court question’s Centre’s vaccination policy

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‘The 80-year-olds aren’t going to carry this country forward. They’ve lived their lives’

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday questioned the Centre’s vaccination policy for not prioritising the younger population over older people, saying “it is the younger people who are the future of this country”.

Justice Vipin Sanghi said, “I can speak for myself … You have announced the vaccination policy for 18- to 44-years-old persons now but you don’t have vaccines. Then why do you have to announce and make a declaration when you don’t have the vaccines?”

“We have to invest in the future and we are sidelining them. So many young people have lost their lives. It is the younger people who are the future. We are on our way out. I don’t understand this policy at all,” Justice Sanghi said.

The Bench, also comprising Justice jasmeet Singh, pointed out that many young persons have succumbed to COVID-19 during the second wave as they were not prioritised in the vaccination policy.

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“The 80-year-olds aren’t going to carry this country forward. They’ve lived their lives,” the High Court said, adding, “Ideally, we should be able to save everyone but if we have to choose, we have to save younger people.”

When the Centre’s counsel said only “God could help us” now, Justice Sanghi said, “This is the area where Gods can’t help us … the facts and figures are in front of us.”

The High Court’s observation came while directing the Centre to frame a policy on prioritising mucormycosis patients when it came to administering liposomal amphotericin B, which is currently in short supply.

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“You [the Centre] have to take a policy decision because everyone can’t be catered to. We need to protect our future, the youth. That is where our promise is. That is the age group that is going to build the country,” the High Court said.

“We are not for a moment discounting the emotional support that the older generation provides to families, particularly Indian families, that are so closely bonded. In times like these, difficult choices have to be made and should be made by the State,” the court said.

The High Court also asked whether it is medically prudent to administer two vials when the requirement is six vials per day for mucormycosis patients. It also asked if there are other supplementary medicines that can be administered to patients who have been allocated only two vials.

Noting that the shortage of liposomal amphotericin B has been continuing for over two weeks, leading to fatalities, the court said it was high time for the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to come out with clear guidelines on the use of the drug.

“If data is anything to go by, there is a shortage of 66%. The cases of black fungus are showing an upward trend. Number of active cases on May 31 was 753 in Delhi and the same is today at 792,” the court noted.

As the availability of the drug was far less than what was required, the High Court said, “It has fallen upon the shoulders of the Centre to take a policy decision with regard to the manner in which the drug should be made available to those suffering.”


This article was originally published on The Hindu