Kerala HC nullifies order permitting second vaccine to be administered before 84-day gap

The division bench of chief justice S Manikumar upheld the Union Government’s stand that the 84-day gap between two doses of the Covishield vaccine was fixed as per the recommendation of the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety. The Centre had told the court that the gap ensured better vaccine efficacy.

The division bench was acting upon an appeal moved by the Union Government against the single bench verdict of September this year, which allowed administration of the second dose of Covishield vaccine before the prescribed gap of 84 days.

The issue came before Kerala high court in August this year after Kochi-based KITEX Garments sought a relaxation in the 84-day interval for administering the second dose of Covishield to its employees. The company had purchased the required number of doses for its employees, but could not go for the second dose as the state government did not allow the jab before the expiry of the stipulated interval.

The single bench of Justice P B Suresh Kumar had asked whether the interval between the two doses was meant for ensuring efficacy of the vaccine or due to any shortage in the supply.

Earlier allowing the petition of KITEX, Justice P B Suresh Kumar said: “However, I have not considered the question whether a person is entitled to make a choice between early protection and better protection from Covid-19 infection in the matter of accepting the free vaccine provided by the Government.’’

The judge said the material on record shows that Centre has relaxed the time interval between the two doses for students who have to undertake foreign travel for the purpose of education, for persons who have to take up jobs in foreign countries, and for athletes, sportspersons, and accompanying staff of the Indian contingent for the Tokyo Olympics.

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