New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala John Brittas and Dr R Ramakumar, professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), knocked the doors of the Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging the new vaccination policy adopted by the Central government to reserve 25 per cent of the domestically manufactured COVID vaccines for the private sector.
Brittas and Dr Ramakumar, in their petition, a copy accessed by ANI, sought an immediate intervention in the vaccine-related cases which are pending in the court.
The application, filed through lawyer Resmitha Ramachandran, said that the current policy of the Central government will cause a reservation for the rich and urban people alone and it would only be super profited by private hospitals, creating massive vaccine inequity.
In response, the applicants sought 100 per cent vaccine procurement by the Central government and also to make the doses available free to the public and private hospitals under the aegis of a proper regulatory authority with continuing mandamus from the apex court.
The petition quoted a media report, dated June 5, which said that just nine corporate hospital groups in the big cities have cornered 50 per cent of the COVID-19 vaccine stock meant for the private sector in May.
it further said that the remaining 50 per cent of the vaccine stock was procured by 300-odd hospitals, located mostly in the country's urban centres, with hardly any of them serving regions beyond the tier-2 cities.
"This is an iniquitous proportion," it read.
The applicants also stated: "As per the revised guidelines, it is the state government which would decide on what and which private hospitals get the vaccine. If this is indeed the case, then the only reason why the 25 per cent remains with the private hospitals is to allow the vaccine companies earn a higher price on them, super profiting them.""Until the last person in the country is vaccinated, there is a continuing risk of the infection- with all possible mutations- looming upon each person of this country like the sword of Damocles and violating the most important fundamental right to life guaranteed by the Constitution of India," the petition said.
The petition also said that revised guidelines do not speak about vaccines for children and the preparedness of the government in the event of a forthcoming third wave of COVID-19.
"The most important ingredient in all vaccines is trust and trust in vaccines is complemented by the trust in the institutions responsible for the vaccination drive and the same is dependent upon the ability of the government to deliver to the citizens the services they need, at speed and standard they do expect and free of cost," the petition said. (ANI)