New Delhi: There is no respite for the Centre from Supreme Court on the vaccination process.
The apex court has now directed the Union government to produce “complete” data on its purchase of three COVID-19 vaccines – Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V — which are being used currently in the nationwide inoculation process.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, continuing its suo moto hearing on COVID-19 management in the country, observed: “The data should clarify the dates of all procurement orders placed by the central government for all three vaccines, the quality of vaccines as ordered on each date, and the projected date of supply.”
The bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat, sought to know from the Union Government the exact percentage of population that has been vaccinated with a single dose, as well both doses, as against eligible beneficiaries in the first three phases of nationwide vaccination drive which started in mid-January.
Covishield, Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine being manufactured in India, and Bharat Biotech-developed desi vaccine Covaxin were approved by India’s drugs regulator in January, while Sputnik V was granted emergency use authorisation in April.
The honourable bench directed the Government to outline its plan of vaccinating remainder of the population and also asked it to list steps being taken to ensure availability of the drug prescribed to treat mucormycosis, or black fungus.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has been advised to file an affidavit with all details within two weeks. June 30 is the next date of hearing.
“We also note that the Union of India’s stated position in its affidavit dated 9 May 2021 is that every state/UT government shall provide vaccination free of cost to its population,” the court further observed. The court asked central and state governments to file an affidavit, lso within two weeks, to clarify their position and put on record their individual policies about providing vaccine free of cost to beneficiaries.
The orders, passed on May 31, were put up on Supreme Court’s website on June 2.