Prioritise vaccine requests of state govts: Kerala HC to Union govt

The court orally observed that private players were getting preference over the requests of state governments.
A vertical image of Kerala High Court
A vertical image of Kerala High Court
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The Kerala High Court on June 2, Wednesday, asked the Union government how private hospitals and other entities were able to procure vaccines even as the requests of state governments were pending before the vaccine manufacturing companies. It added that there should be some yardstick in the supply of vaccines from the non-governmental quota. The request of state governments for vaccine supply from non-governmental quota should be prioritised, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court orally observed.

The court observed that the request of the state governments should be considered on par with that of private entities including hospitals. The Hindu reported that the Bench comprising Justice Kauser Edappagath and Justice A Muhammed Mustaque made the oral observations while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the Union government's Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 vaccination strategy. The petition in the court had also sought a directive to the Union government to provide sufficient funds to the state government for vaccination.

At the High Court hearing, the state government also said that the Union government had failed to provide vaccines at fair price and argued that as a result, they were a party to promoting black marketing. In reality, the court orally observed, private players were getting preference over the requests of state governments. Following the questions being raised, the counsel for the Union government asked for more time and the court posted the case for next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Legislative Assembly on June 2 passed a unanimous resolution asking the Union government to provide vaccines to all states free of cost so that state governments can proceed with vaccinating all citizens in a timely manner. Kerala Minister of Health and Family Welfare Veena George moved the resolution. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has been maintaining that Kerala would make COVID-19 vaccines available to all citizens for free and that one crore COVID-19 vaccine doses had already been ordered by the state government.

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