SC Gets Prickly on Centre's Vaccine Policy, Demands Full Purchase List

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Centre to provide detailed information on all COVID-19 vaccines purchased by the government to date, including Covaxin, Covishield, and Sputnik V. The data should include: (a) the dates of all Central government procurement orders for all three vaccinations; (b) the quantity of vaccines ordered as of each date; and (c) the expected date of supply, according to the Court.

The apex court has also asked the Centre to share its plan on how and when the government will vaccinate the remaining population in phases 1, 2, and 3. Further, the Court also sought information on the steps being taken by the Central government to ensure drug availability for mucormycosis.

The ruling was issued by a Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao, and S Ravindra Bhat in a suo motu case filed by the highest court to address issues surrounding the administration of Covid-19 in the country. It further said: While filing it’s affidavit, UoI shall also ensure that copies of all the relevant documents and file notings reflecting its thinking and culminating in the vaccination policy are also annexed on the vaccination policy.

On May 31, the top court had highlighted digital divide between rural and urban India and posed searching queries to the Centre on mandatory registration on CoWIN for COVID jabs, vaccine procurement policy and differential pricing, saying the policy makers must have ears on ground to effectively deal with the unprecedented crisis.

Asking the Centre to “smell the coffee” and ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are available at the same price across the nation, the top court had advised the government to be flexible with its policies to deal with the dynamic pandemic situation. The top court’s order came in suo motu case on COVID-19 management.

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