SC refuses to stay COVID vaccination, seeks Centre reply on disclosure of clinical trial, efficacy data
Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and others on a plea seeking directions for disclosure of data regarding clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines, and clarified that personal autonomy can not be pressed against the public interest and no message must come from the court challenging the efficacy of vaccines as the country already has the problem of Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hrishikesh Roy was hearing a petition filed by Jacob Puliel, a former member of the National Technical Advisory Group, demanding disclosure of data regarding clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines that are being administered to the population in India under the Emergency Use Authorisation granted by the Drugs Controller General of India( DCGI).
The PIL, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan sought segregated data from the clinical trials of the vaccines that are part of the country's vaccination drive against Covid-19. It pointed out that many state governments are issuing mandates imposing vaccination on employees threatening termination of service.
"Let the vaccination go on and we don't want to stop this. We will examine your points."
Making it clear that neither it is an "anti-vaccine petition" nor the petitioner is seeking to stop Covid vaccination in the country, advocate Bhushan said transparency on the issue was needed and disclosure of data would rather clear all the doubts.
"It is the first time in the history of India that Emergency Use Authorization has been given for vaccines without a full clinical trial. The minimum I am asking is disclosure and transparency. Their own rules say this", he said.
"Yes, you are not asking for vaccination to be stopped. What we are thinking is if it will create doubts among people and lead to hesitancy".
"Coercing citizens directly or indirectly to get vaccinated is unconstitutional and violates right to life of citizens. While the government has clearly stated in numerous RTIs that covid vaccines are voluntary, there are many instances from across the country where various authorities are mandating vaccines" the plea reads.
"You are pressing personal autonomy against the public interest. It is said unless everyone is vaccinated, nobody is safe", Justice Rao observed.
"We appreciate your concerns. We appreciate your concern that they have to reveal the entire data on adverse effects. But we have to to see that the situation is very grave. We are still not out of it. We still have 4 lakh cases. Our concern is that if any inquiry at this stage will throw doubts on the efficacy."