In a reply filed by the Centre government, it apprised the Supreme Court that it has not issued any Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which makes it mandatory to get the Covid-19 vaccination.
It was informed that the guidelines issued by the Union health ministry do not envisage forcible vaccination without obtaining the consent of an individual.
“It is humbly submitted that the direction and guidelines released by Government of India and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, do not envisage any forcible vaccination without obtaining consent of the concerned individual. It is further humbly submitted that vaccination for COVID-19 is of larger public interest in view of the ongoing pandemic situation. It is duly advised, advertised and communicated through various print and social media platforms that all citizens should get vaccinated and systems and processes have been designed to facilitate the same. However, no person can be forced to be vaccinated against their wishes,” said the Union Health Ministry.
The Ministry added, “it is most respectfully submitted that the Government of India has not issued any SOPs which make carrying of vaccination certificate mandatory for any purpose.”
The government also suggested counselling before vaccination.
“It is humbly submitted that the Government of India has formulated Operational Guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination. As per these Guidelines, all beneficiaries are to be informed about adverse events which may occur after COVID-19 vaccine,” it said.
The reply was filed in connection to the plea filed by NGO Evara Foundation seeking door-to-door, priority COVID-19 vaccination for persons with disabilities.
Have Not Made Carrying Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate Mandatory
Replying to the petition that raised the issue of exempting persons with disabilities from producing vaccination certificates, the Centre government also made it clear that it has not issued any SOP which makes it mandatory to carry the vaccine certificate for any purpose.
The petitioner had raised an issue that persons with disabilities are at a greater risk of contracting Covid-19. It is difficult for them to adhere to hygiene measures, enacting social distancing norms, underlying health conditions, etc.
The plea filed through Advocate Shashank Singh also submitted that booking a slot at the vaccination center is a highly technical process due to which persons with disabilities are finding it difficult to vaccinate themselves.
Besides clarifying that persons with disabilities are not required to carry a vaccination certificate with them, the Centre government, in its affidavit, also called for continuing use of face masks or face covers, and contains details on Near to Home Vaccine Centres (NHCVCs) and the Har Ghar Dastak Abhiyan policy to stress that door-to-door vaccination of eligible beneficiaries including persons with disabilities will be carried out.