The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi government why it started vaccination centres when it knew that it could not provide the second dose of coronavirus vaccine Covaxin on time, the Hindustan Times reported. The doses of the vaccine, manufactured by Bharat Biotech, are given within a gap of four to six weeks.
The High Court issued a notice to the Delhi government and asked if it can stick to the time frame to administer the second dose. It also issued a notice to the Centre to make Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccines available to the national Capital.
Justice Rekha Palli made the observation on two pleas in which the petitioners had stated they could not get the second dose despite their efforts. The petitioners had said that citizens were travelling to Meerut or other places to get the vaccine dose as the stock in Delhi was exhausted.
Several states in India are facing shortages of vaccine doses. The shortage has severely curtailed India’s inoculation drive. Several states are seeking to procure vaccines through global tenders or by approaching manufacturers directly. Some administrations, including Delhi, have complained that global vaccine makers had refused to coordinate with them.
During the hearing, the bench noted that Maharashtra stopped immunisation when it found out that it could not provide the second dose, reported PTI. “You opened so many vaccination centres everywhere with so much pomp and splendour and now you say you don’t know when the second dose stock would be available,” the court said, adding that the Delhi government should have stopped the immunisation drive.
Delhi government’s Additional Standing Counsel Anuj Aggarwal told the High Court that even he is yet to receive the second dose and that there is a scarcity of Covaxin doses. He said that the Delhi government and the vaccine manufacturer were in talks to get more supplies.
Aggarwal said that he would seek instructions on when the doses would be available and also whether the residents who have got the first shot can get the second one within the stipulated time.
The court has listed the matter for hearing on June 4.