SC Slams Centre for ‘Arbitrary & Irrational’ Vaccine Policy for 18 to 44 year

Story Highlights
  • SC labels centre vaccine policy for 18 to 44-year-old "arbitrary and irrational"
  • Calls for a report on Rs 35,000 earmarked during the Union Budget
  • Directs state and UTs to submit an affidavit within 2 weeks

New Delhi: In a major setback to the central government, the Supreme Court has questioned its policy of paid vaccination for 18-44 age group, saying it is “prima facie, arbitrary and irrational”. The top court pointed out the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and asked the Centre to review its vaccination policy. 

Reports from the top court noted that the second surge of the COVID-19 pandemic affected a large number of people between 18-44 years of age. Health experts stated that the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had mostly affected the elderly and the co-morbid individuals, whereas more younger people were affected in the second wave. 

“Unlike the prior policy, the Liberalized Vaccination policy does not prioritize persons with co-morbidities and other diseases, persons with disabilities, or any other vulnerable groups. This is especially at issue because the experience of the second wave of the pandemic has provided experiential learning that the Covid-19 virus is capable of mutation and now poses a threat to persons in this age group (18-44) as well,” the Supreme Court said.

It also sought a response from the Centre as to how Rs 35,000 earmarked for COVID-19 vaccine procurement in the Union Budget. 

The apex court has directed the state/UT governments to file an affidavit within 2 weeks, where they shall clarify their position and put on record their individual vaccine policies, while fixing the matter for further hearing till June 30, it also directed UoI to file its affidavit within 2 weeks.

More from Around the World: WHO Approves China’s Sinovac Vaccine Under the COVAX Program

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