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Cannot force people to get vaccinated against their wish: Centre tells Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court on Monday was told by the Union government that they have left no stone unturned to get all citizens of the country vaccinated, but it cannot force an individual to do so against their wish.

Filing an affidavit in response to a petition filed by NGO Evara Foundation in the Apex Court seeking door-to-door, priority Covid-19 vaccination for persons with disabilities, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that it has not issued any SOP that makes it mandatory to carry the vaccination certificate for any purpose.

The Union government further said that the directions and guidelines issued by the Government of India and the Ministry were in larger public interest, keeping in view the Coronavirus pandemic. 

As per the affidavit, India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive is being guided by scientific and domain knowledge experts through a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC).

NEGFAC provides guidance on all aspects of Covid-19 vaccination, including prioritisation of population groups, procurement and inventory management, vaccine selection, vaccine delivery and tracking mechanism.  On technical aspects pertaining to Covid-19 vaccination, the NEGFAC is guided by the National Technical Advisory Group of Immunization (NTAGI) which is India’s apex advisory body on immunization.  The NTAGI examines the technical aspects like usage of different varieties of Covid-19 Vaccines , interval between vaccine doses and contraindications, and recommends the same to NEGGAC. NEGFAC in turn provides overall guidance and recommendations on all aspects of Covid- 19 vaccination to MOHFW including prioritization of population groups , procurement and inventory management , vaccine selection , vaccine delivery and tracking mechanism.

The ministry said that they have taken the help of social media and other platforms to advise and make the citizens aware that they should all get vaccinated and systems and processes have been designed to facilitate the same.

However, it does not envisage  forcible vaccination of an individual, without obtaining his/her consent, it added.

The affidavit further stated that some states have issued orders to disincentivise the refusal of vaccination by citizens. Maharashtra had said that only fully vaccinated individuals would be allowed on local trains, and the Kerala government had said the state would not bear the cost of Covid-19 treatment for unvaccinated individuals.

The Supreme Court had earlier, in a plea filed by Eluru Foundation, had permitted the Foundation to formulate any concrete steps to strengthen the existing framework for facilitating the vaccination of disabled persons, and ensure that they have proper access to the process.

The government had then said that it had accordingly received the suggestions and considered them.

On January 16, the country completed one year of its vaccination drive against Covid-19.

Read the affidavit here:


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