Kerala desires COWIN to reduce the vaccination gap for people availing of paid vaccinations.
What took place on Monday?
On Monday, Kerala High Court had sent a petition to the Centre to change the span of gap advised for the Covisheild vaccine in the portal of Co-win for those who can afford paid vaccines from private institutions.
In a writ petition to the Centre, HC of Kerala mentioned that a garment manufacturing and exporting company, Kitex, had purchased covishield for vaccinating its employees.
But those vaccines could not be dispensed to the workers since the Centre must maintain the gap of 12 to 16 weeks, along with a mandatory registration on the Cowin app or portal.
Who can get these vaccines?
The early access to Covishield vaccines, in 4 weeks instead of 12, is to be administered only to those capable of purchasing the vaccine privately.
The vaccines that the government provides are still free of cost and maintain a gap of 12 to 16 weeks after the first dose of the said vaccine.
The HC has decided to avail the second dose of Covishield from the private organizations to the people as it is their choice if they choose between “early protection or better protection”.
The official verdict of HC
After reviewing Kitex Garments and Kitex Children’s wear, the HC of Kerala decided to side with the petitioner.
According to the official order, The High Court has raised questions regarding the discrepancy of the government.
It read that if the government can provide early Covishield vaccination to students, sportspeople, travellers and certain classes of people for their purpose of travelling, then such facility should also be available for the everyday person for emergency needs.
However, the HC has not provided any verdict regarding the vaccines given to the public by the government.
What did the health professionals say?
Even if HC ordered relaxation of the waiting period between the first and the second dose, health experts think that this does not mean every person has to take their double dose as soon as possible.
The original waiting period was designed so that people taking Covishield can adapt to its highest efficacy when the second vaccine gets administered at a gap of at least six weeks.
The Indian version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot initially required a gap of 4-6 weeks between its two doses, but it was then changed and increased to 4-8 weeks.
However, in May, the government declared the gap to increase to 12- 16 weeks. The citizens doubted the decision and had already started linking the extended gap with the shortage in vaccine supply.
The 12-16 weeks waiting period seemed to act as salt in the wound for the Covishield takers, mainly because the covaxin takers enjoy a waiting period of only 4-6 weeks which had remained unchanged since January when the vaccination drive began in different cities.
Currently, Kerala is combatting a spike in covid cases and expects daily cases to rise upto 40,000 in the coming weeks.