Supreme Court slams Centre's vaccination policy for 18-44 years old
New Delhi/IBNS: The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the Centre's policy of giving free vaccination to those above 45 years and charging a hefty amount from those below that age.
The apex court, in its detailed order of Monday's hearing, said the system is "prima facie arbitrary and irrational".
Flagging several other flaws, including shortage of vaccine doses and problems faced by rural people in accessing vaccines, the court asked the Centre to review its vaccination policy.
The Centre has been asked to "place on record a roadmap of projected availability of vaccines till 31 December 2021".
The court will take up the case again on June 30.
The top court also highlighted the pricing issue of vaccines, asking the Narendra Modi government to submit a comparison of the prices of doses available in India to their international prices.
It has been said by many critics that in India, 18-44-year-olds are paying record prices for vaccines.
Calling the issue of vaccination "absolutely crucial", the apex court said currently people in the 18-44 year age group are not just getting infected, but suffering from severe effects of the infection.
"Hence, due to the importance of vaccinating individuals in the 18-44 age group, the policy of the Central Government for conducting free vaccination themselves for groups under the first 2 phases, and replacing it with paid vaccination by the State/UT Governments and private hospitals for the persons between 18-44 years is, prima facie, arbitrary and irrational," the order read.