THE Allahabad High Court Friday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure immediate procurement of vaccines so that everyone in the state is completely vaccinated within three to four months.
“If we run late in vaccinating a large population in the state, we may lose the real desired result of vaccination as the virus may achieve such mutations which may neutralize the vaccine also,” the court warned.
“Besides that, since large numbers of people are getting infected every day and scientists are of the view that a third wave is almost at the doorsteps of India, it is necessary that the government enter into direct dialogue with vaccine producers with the help of Indian diplomats in those countries. We must remember that in the context of Covid-19 virus, unless every individual is protected, no one is safe”, a bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar said.
The UP government informed the court that 8.5 crore Covaxin and Covishield were available for the month of May and the Centre had the necessary budget as per the announcement made in Parliament by the Finance Minister amounting to Rs.35,000 crore to spend on vaccines.
The court was also informed that the Centre intended to procure vaccines from other producers for which the conditions around licenses with regard to emergency use of vaccines had also been relaxed. It added that 1.5 lakh Sputnik Covid vaccines had already arrived in India from Russia till now.
When asked what the stand of the state was now that vaccines were available in the global market for any country to purchase, the high court was informed that the UP government had already floated global tenders for the purpose. Given that a tender is a long-drawn-out process, the high court suggested the government find ways to ensure immediate procurement of the vaccines.
The court also asked the state government to apprise it of the guidelines prepared for a vaccination programme specific to physically challenged persons.