Made preparations for vaccination on Bharat Biotech assurance of Covaxin supplies: Delhi govt to HC

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New Delhi, Jun 4 (PTI) The Delhi government told the Delhi High Court on Friday that it made preparations for vaccinating people with Covaxin based on its manufacturer Bharat Biotech's assurance that the national capital will receive 5 lakh doses in May and four times that in June.

However, it received only 1.5 lakh doses of the vaccine in May and due to the Centre's instructions not to set aside any stock for the second jab, all of it was used to provide the first dose to as many people in the 18-44 age group, additional standing counsel Anuj Aggarwal told the high court.

Justice Rekha Palli, after perusing certain documents shown to her by the Delhi government, said that it should have stopped providing people with the first dose of Covaxin when it realised by May 11-12 that it will not be getting any more supplies from Bharat Biotech to provide the second doses.

The court said the Delhi government was 'over confident' that it will get the requisite supplies of the vaccine.

It said that if there was no confirmation from Bharat Biotech with regard to additional supplies, then the present situation -- where thousands of people may not get the second dose within the incubation period of six weeks from the first dose -- was 'a situation of your own doing'.

'After May 11-12, you (Delhi government) should have stopped. But you went on vaccinating till May 24,' the court said.

Aggarwal said that the Delhi government continued to vaccinate as the Centre had told it not to set aside any doses.

He also told the court that by June 9, Bharat Biotech would send around 15,000 doses of Covaxin and an additional 90,000 by July 2.

The court said the first lot of supplies would help only 10 per cent of the 1.5 lakh persons who were given the first dose and by the time the second lot arrives, it would not be of any help to them.

'People took the first shot of vaccine under the belief that you would provide them with the second one also,' the court said.

It listed the matter on June 7 to give time to the Delhi government to place on record the documents it had shown to the court regarding communications with the Centre and Bharat Biotech.

The court also asked the Centre and the Delhi government to find a solution, like asking private hospitals to administer their stock of Covaxin only to people requiring the second dose, to the issue as there was an urgent requirement of providing the vaccine to lakhs of people before the six-week window expires.

The court was hearing three pleas filed by people who were finding it difficult to get the second dose of Covaxin after getting the first jab.

One of the petitions has been moved by a lawyer, Ashish Virmani, who received the first dose of Covaxin on May 3 and since May 29 has been unable to book a slot for receiving the second jab which has to be taken within six weeks of the first.

Subsequently, he had to travel to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh to receive the second dose of the vaccine, advocate Pallav Mongia, representing Virmani, told the court.

On June 2, the court had said that if the Delhi government could not ensure that people get both the doses of Covaxin within the stipulated time, then it should not have started so many vaccination centres with 'much pomp and splendour'. PTI HMP SA

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