The Karnataka High court questioned the State government for turning a blind eye to a series of advisories issued by the Centre regarding the timely administration of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday. The court also stated that the people of Karnataka would not have witnessed such a desperate situation to acquire the second dose had the State followed the advisories provided since April.
Karnataka is gruelling in the flare of the second wave as it toppled Maharastra to be the state with the highest number of active COVID-19 cases notching up to 5,92,202 active cases as of Thursday.
The Court instructed the state government to adhere to the advisories, prioritizing the second dose and submit to the Central government, the district-wise need of two types of vaccine for the second dose.
The directions came from a Special Divison Bench consisting of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar, whilst also observing that the Centre's advisories were pertinently clear for the timely completion of the second dose.
The Bench found that the Centre had categorically mentioned the condition of completing two doses of vaccine within the prescribed schedule and on prioritising vaccine for the second doses in the advisories given on April 14, April 29, and May 6.
"The government must tell the truth to the public. Let people unnecessarily not go to vaccination centres. You (State government) must come clean," the Bench said and implicated the discrepancies in the data indicating the required vaccines for second doses and serious lapses are due to the State government and their mismanagement of timely administration of the second dose reported The Hindu.
The Bench noted that the data submitted previously showed a requirement of 26,08,907 doses of the vaccine for delivery of the second dose to those who had taken the first dose for 4 to 6 weeks. The State government's results, however, showed that only 19,97,729 doses were required for the second dose, according to the Bench. It also learned from amicus curiae Vikram Hilgol's submissions that another 5.28 lakh doses of vaccine were needed for the second dose for health and frontline staff.
In response to a question from the Bench about what happens if the second dose is not given within the recommended time frame of 4 to 8 weeks, Aishwarya Bhati, Additional Solicitor General of India, said that an expert panel will likely give its opinion on the matter within a few days." India cannot afford to waste even a single dose of vaccine," she cautioned while assuring the Bench that the Centre will make every effort to ensure adequate vaccine distribution for the second dose, and pointing out that Karnataka has used vaccine doses successfully, with not much wastage.
In response to a question hinting whether Karnataka violated the centre's advisories she said that the centre along with the state wants to successfully vaccinate the citizens, it is up to the States to carry out the Center's recommendations.