Courts Update Centre to supply Covid-19 vaccines to state governments free...

Centre to supply Covid-19 vaccines to state governments free of cost: Delhi govt to Delhi High Court

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New Delhi Aug 26(ILNS): The Delhi government apprised the Delhi High Court that the Centre has undertaken to supply Covid-19 vaccines to all State Governments free of cost, as per its ‘Revised Guidelines’ issued on June 8, 2021.

The Delhi government on Wednesday submitted its response before the Division Bench comprised of Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, with regard to a petition seeking adequate supply of vaccines to the Delhi Government for the residents of the national capital.

The plea was filed by a 43-year-old man, who was unable to register for Covid-19 vaccination due to the non-availability of slots. Advocate Gaurav Gaur, representing the petitioner, informed the Court that the petitioner has now been vaccinated.

The Delhi Government stated that the Centre, on May 1, 2021, announced the “Liberalised and accelerated Phase-III strategy of Covid-19 vaccination,” wherein the State Governments and private hospitals were permitted to procure vaccines for the age group of 18 to 44 years, directly from the manufacturers. Under the said policy, the Delhi Government procured more than 13.7 lakh doses of vaccine from the manufacturers directly in the period between May 1, 2021, to June 20, 2021.

It is asserted in the affidavit that the Delhi Government placed an order for 134 lakh doses of vaccine with the manufacturers for the beneficiaries falling in the age group of 18 to 44 years.

It is stated further that the said guidelines were revised by the Centre on June 8, 2021, following which, the Centre procures from the manufacturers 75 percent of the vaccines produced by them and supply the same to State Governments free of cost, while the remaining 25 percent of the vaccines produced by the manufacturers could be procured by private hospitals. Under the revised policy, the Centre has supplied 98.05 lakh doses of vaccine to the Delhi Government.

On the issue of availability of slots for vaccination since at least a month in advance, the Delhi Government has submitted that due to shortage of vaccines and stock-outs, booking of slots in advance has to be curtailed.

The reply filed by the Delhi Government, however, was not on record, and accordingly, Bench has directed the Delhi Government to bring on record the reply filed by it. The matter is slated for October 11.

Filed by one Vivek Gaur, the plea sought direction to the Delhi Government to place adequate orders for Covid-19 vaccinations, in order to ensure adequacy in the supply of vaccines in the national capital.

The plea highlighted that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a press conference held by him on May 10, 2021, asserted that the Delhi Government has placed an order for 1.34 crore vaccinations, out of which the Centre has only supplied 3.5 lakh vaccines in May 2021.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, in a press conference held by him on the same day, asserted that no order for vaccinations, as stated by the Delhi Chief Minister, has been placed by the Delhi Government. Claiming that the Centre and the Delhi Government are making contradictory statements and blaming each other, the plea stated that the residents of Delhi should not suffer in this ‘blame-game.

In this regard, the plea prayed for constitution of a Commission headed by a Retired Judicial Officer or a senior advocate or any other respectable person of society, for the purpose of conducting an inquiry into who, among the Centre and the Delhi Government, is making a false statement to the public at large, and to fix accountability./ILNS/KR/SNG

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