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Can't cast doubt on Covid-19 vaccine: Supreme Court

The top court, however, agreed to examine a plea alleging healthy people going for vaccination, were found to have collapsed, and died
shish Tripathi
Last Updated : 26 November 2021, 12:59 IST
Last Updated : 26 November 2021, 12:59 IST
Last Updated : 26 November 2021, 12:59 IST
Last Updated : 26 November 2021, 12:59 IST

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The Supreme Court on Friday said it cannot send a wrong message by casting doubt on the ongoing Covid innoculation in the country as the WHO has also spoken in favour of the vaccine and other countries are also doing it.

The top court, however, agreed to examine a plea alleging healthy people going for vaccination, were found to have collapsed, and died.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna said, "We cannot send a message that there is some problem with the vaccination. We cannot just cast doubt on it”.

The revised guidelines also provide another channel for tracking serious and minor AEFI (adverse event following immunisation) through the 'peripheral health staff', which included Asha workers. Citing monthly progress reports, the bench said that at this juncture, it is not correct to cast a doubt on vaccination.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for petitioners, submitted that there were hundreds of reported deaths across the country, linked to the vaccine.

Petitioners Ajay Kumar Gupta and others sought direction to the Centre to follow up, record and advertise instances of death occurring within 30 days of immunisation.

The bench, however, said it may not be attributed to the vaccine.

The counsel, for his part, said we must have a monitoring system to record this.

He pointed out that 2015 AEFI guidelines were revised in 2020, which only provided for passive surveillance, relying only on the complaint of a person concerned or the family affected.

The bench said, “We cannot say, we haven’t formulated guidelines for AEFI in India. We do have a system. There are always bound to be dissenters, but we can't fashion our policy as per them”.

“The world was in throes of an unprecedented pandemic the likes of which we have not seen in our life. It is of the highest national importance that we vaccinate," the bench said.

"There will always be studies, either five or ten years down the line, but, at this stage, we cannot afford the price of laxity, of not vaccinating. We have to keep the people safe and reduce fatality," the bench added.

The bench further pointed out every country in the world have multiple vaccines.

After detailed hearing, the bench asked Gonsalves to serve the petition on the office of the Solicitor General.

The court posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

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Published 26 November 2021, 12:55 IST

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