Let's wait for WHO on Covaxin, SC on plea for re-vaccination by Covishield

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed that it has been reported that Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, has submitted the latest data to the WHO. The bench added that the decision is expected to come and told the petitioner's counsel to wait for some time, as there will not be any difficulty when the WHO recognises Covaxin.

The Supreme Court on Friday said it will wait for the WHO's decision on indigenous vaccine Covaxin's recognition, before taking up a plea seeking permission for voluntary re-vaccination with Covishield, for those fully vaccinated with Covaxin, so as to enable them to travel abroad.

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed that it has been reported that Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, has submitted the latest data to the WHO. The bench added that the decision is expected to come and told the petitioner's counsel to wait for some time, as there will not be any difficulty when the WHO recognises Covaxin.

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The petition filed by Kartik Seth urged the top court to issue direction to the Centre, Bharat Biotech, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and the Directorate General of Health Services, to not restrain those who voluntarily, at their own risk, want to get vaccinated by Covishield, after taking two shots of Covaxin.

The petitioners' counsel argued that students, who were willing to study abroad, were facing difficulties in the absence of Covaxin's recognition by the WHO.

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To this, the bench said how could it say that people who have been administered by one vaccine, should be permitted to have another one. "We don't know what the complications will be. We can't play with people's lives," it said, insisting that the petitioner should wait, noting that it does not know what repercussions will originate from re-vaccination with a different vaccine.

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After arguments, the top court scheduled the matter for further hearing post Diwali vacation.

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The petitioner's counsel pointed out that data in connection with Covishield was submitted to the WHO in December last year, after which it was recognised.

The plea also sought directions for the Centre to issue SOPs and guidelines, which would allow re-vaccination of fully vaccinated persons with another vaccine.

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