Wastage of vaccines a criminal waste; vaccinate whom all you can: HC to Centre

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New Delhi, Apr 20 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said wastage of even a single shot of the COVID-19 vaccine was a 'criminal waste' and directed the Centre to vaccinate whomsoever it can to ensure each vial is used fully.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said that according to news reports there is a daily wastage of six per cent of vaccines and till now 44 lakh vaccines out of 10 crore have been wasted, maximum in Tamil Nadu.

'This is a huge wastage. Give it to those who want it. Whomsoever you can vaccinate, please vaccinate. Whether 16 year old or 60 year old, all need vaccination. The pandemic does not discriminate,' the court told the Centre.

The bench said the wastage was occurring due to the restriction with regard to age and categories of persons who are entitled to take the vaccine.

It said that the Centre recently announced that from May 1 all above the age of 18 years would be entitled to take the vaccine.

'In our view, wastage of a single dose of vaccine, which has proven to be life saving, is a criminal waste,' it said and directed the central government to find a way to ensure full utilisation of the vaccine, if not utilised by the age/category for which it is permitted by 5pm each day.

It said that the Centre can devise ways and means to register volunteers between the ages of 18-45 years who can be called to take the vaccine, if some doses are left after 5pm each day.

'That would ensure all doses are fully utilised and not wasted. For this purpose the Centre should modify its COWIN application (meant for registering people who want to get vaccinated),' the bench said.

The observations by the bench came during the hearing of a disposed of petition related to COVID-19 tests which was revived on April 19 (Monday).

The high court Monday noted that the virus has raised its 'ugly head' once again and the pandemic is raging with much greater intensity and 'it is evident that the healthcare infrastructure is at the stage of imminent collapse'. PTI HMP RKS RKS