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HC Asks Centre About Booster Shots, Says ‘Don’t Want 2nd Wave Like Situation Again’

Mumbai: Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre as to why COVID-19 booster shots are not being made available in India like other countries.

The Bar and Bench pointed out that the Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh directed the government to consult the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and file an affidavit on the need for booster shots in India.

Asked why booster shots are not being given in India like other countries like the United States, the Delhi High Court asked the government to clarify its stand on the issue and, if considered necessary, then submit a timeline of the proposed rollout, Indian Express reported.

“The decision should not be based on economics as there is no doubt that it is a costly proposition and the government is making it free for most and not many people are paying for it. Maybe that’s why the government doesn’t want to give it at this stage, but then we don’t want to land in a situation that we are overly conservative on this, and we land up in a situation like we were in the second wave. We will actually lose the advantage of this vaccination.”

The court further expressed its concern over the unused vaccine doses and said, “There are also reports that a large number of vaccine doses are lying unused whose shelf life will expire in some time to come.”

Concerned that by reopening schools and starting offline classes, children may trigger a new wave of COVID-19 infection, the court asked the status of vaccination for children below 18 years of age to be included in the affidavit.

“The court further observed, “On one hand, we have Dr Guleria’s statement and on the other, we have all of the West, which is advocating giving a booster, not even voluntarily. Thus, we need to know from experts. There has to be some serious thought given to this. We don’t want to land up in a situation like the Second Wave. If we don’t act in time, we might lose all the advantage of this investment we’ve put in,” Bar and Bench reported.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Randeep Guleria had earlier said that there is no urgent need for booster shots in India, and the prospect of a “huge third wave” is “reducing with each passing day.”

The court fixed the matter for hearing on December 14, asking the central government to file an affidavit.

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