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All documents related to Covid vax available in public domain: Centre to SC

The Centre told the Supreme Court that all documents related to COVID-19 vaccines and their compositions are available in public domain, and the vaccine has proved to be very effective and safe.


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday that all documents related to COVID-19 vaccines and their compositions are available in public domain, and the vaccine has proved to be very effective and safe.
The top court was hearing arguments on a plea seeking directions for disclosure of data on clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines and post-jab cases.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told a bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai that the administration of vaccines is being monitored in a real-time basis.
"Each vial is being kept in cold storage. We have vaccine vial monitors which provide data as the vaccine is administered," Mehta said.
"The argument of the petitioner was that they were not aware of what the vaccine is and what the ingredients are. All the documents are in public domain. The entire composition is given, clinical particulars, therapeutic indications etc are all given in the Centre's counter. We have also given clinical trial experience and no vaccine-related adverse response is observed," he told the apex court.
Mehta referred to the case of tennis player Novak Djokovic in Australia who has remained unvaccinated against the coronavirus and has maintained that he is willing to miss out on future tennis trophies rather than be forced into taking the jab.
In January, Djokovic was deported from Australia and barred from playing in the Australian Open for not meeting the country's strict COVID-19 vaccination rules.
In the end, the Australian authorities revoked Djokovic's visa, saying his presence could stir up anti-vaccine sentiment and that kicking him out was necessary to keep Australians safe. He was deported a day before the tournament got underway in Melbourne.
Mehta said that in Djokovic's case, one of the grounds that weighed with the authorities was that his stance on anti-vaccination was so strong that it might influence the people, and there may be vaccine hesitancy.
He said there are the multitude of policy considerations of the executive which the judiciary left to its wisdom.
Mehta contended that if a vaccine mandate is proportionate with the legitimate aim, the doctrine of proportionality will apply.
Referring to the judgment of the top court in the Puttuswamy case, Mehta said if there is a legitimate State interest, then there should be an exception carved.
"PIL petitioner can't seek raw data to satisfy his curiosity or to sit in judgment of the opinion of experts," Mehta said.
The Centre had earlier told the top court that as on March 13 this year, a total of over 180 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country, and 77,314 adverse events, which come to 0.004 per cent, have been reported.
The government had said that over 8.91 crore doses of vaccine Covaxin have been administered in the age group of 15-18 years as on March 12, and the number of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) reported are 1,739 minor, 81 serious, and six severe.
The Centre had told the bench that a substantial number of individuals in the country are vaccinated and the vaccines have proved to be very effective and safe.
It had said that both vaccines -- Covaxin and Covishield -- generate antibodies and adverse events are also found to be minimum.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, had earlier argued that whether to get vaccinated or not is an individual decision, and in the absence of informed consent, mandatory vaccination was unconstitutional.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Dr Jacob Puliyel, a former member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, who has sought directions to also disclose post-vaccination data regarding adverse events.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 21 2022 | 9:49 PM IST

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