HC directs Centre to give Covid vaccines' allocation timeframe for Kerala

The Kerala High Court on Friday sought a response from the Centre regarding the time frame within which the Kerala Government would get its share of COVID vaccine doses.

The court was hearing a petition challenging the Centr's "Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy" (policy) and its suo motu case against overcrowding in front of vaccine centres. The court called for the case to be posted on May 20.

The bench of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Kauser Edappagath asked whether it was true that Kerala was receiving 3 lakh vaccine doses against its request for one crore doses (75 lakh doses of Covishield and 25 lakh of Covaxin).

When the counsel for the Centre -- Advocate KR Rajkumar and State Attorney KV Sohan agreed, the court remarked that it was not being parochial but sought a timeline from the Centre as to when Kerala could receive its share of vaccines.

The court said, "We think that the Government of India should respond at the earliest as to when there would be a meaningful solution to the scarcity of doses of vaccines, which is now being faced. When we say this, it may not be misunderstood to mean that we are asking for any preferential treatment to the State of Kerala, but only that the Government of India must inform us how and when the doses, as requested, can be made available to Kerala. The general fear of there being a vaccine shortage was perhaps leading to flocking in front of vaccine centers."

"There can be little doubt that every citizen would crave the vaccination because there is a fear that their life itself would be jeopardised, the court noted.

The court further said, "The state police chief is ordered to direct SHOs by circular over email that any request for deployment by vaccine centers will be honoured. Only empathetic persuasion to be used. Police personnel deployed outside vaccine centers were to refrain from the use of force but use empathetic persuasion instead.

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