New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has asked Centre to explain the principle behind keeping the vaccination drive strictly age based as under the current system, in the second phase, people above the age of 60 years and those above 45 with co morbidities can be vaccinated.
The High Court said that the country has more than enough vaccine capacity to restrict the vaccine programme on age basis but it seems that the threshold is not being exploited. India has two approved vaccines -- Covishied developed by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
"We are not utilising it fully. We are either donating it to foreign countries or selling it to them and are not vaccinating our own people. So there has to be that sense of responsibility and urgency," a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said.
The High Court also asked the two institutes to file separate affidavits on their manufacturing capacity of the vaccines on per day/week/month basis and also directed to report how much capacity is lying that can be used.
"Union of India (UoI) shall file an affidavit disclosing the capacity to transport the vaccines while maintaining the whole chain particularly to the NCT of Delhi. The Union of India shall also indicate the extent to which it is presently being used," the high court said.
"The UoI shall explain the rationale behind keeping strict control over class of persons who can be vaccinated as noticed in our last order. Under the present system, persons above 60 years of age and between 45 to 60 years with co-morbidities can receive vaccination.
"An affidavit to be filed by the UoI disclosing the rationale for such classification," it said.
Notably, India has been supplying vaccines to neighbouring countries ever since the vaccine candidates have been granted with the regulatory approval. While the country earlier supplied vaccine for free under vaccine maitri programme, it is now commercially shipping the vaccine doses.