Delhi HC refuses to entertain plea to reduce Covishield dosage interval

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to entertain a PIL seeking reduction of interval gap between two doses of COVID-19 vaccine Covishield citing the threat of third wave and Delta variant.

The Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said, “We are not inclined to hear you as we are convinced with your submission.”

“Many advisers come here every day without having proper knowledge. We are not inclined to hear you,” Justice DN Patel said to the lawyer for the petitioner.

Petitioner Dr Siddhartha De through Advocate Kuldeep Jauhari submitted that the court should pass direction to respondents to consider the reduction of COVID-19 vaccine interval for people who have comorbidities as the Delta variant is already here. Lawyer also submits that the threat for the third wave is also here.

The lawyer cited various studies from the UK and also of Indian scientists to show that reduction of the gap would increase the efficacy of the vaccine.

Recently government sources have clarified that there is no need to change the current dosage interval of the Covishield vaccine in India after concerns were raised by various experts.

In May, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) recommended an increase in the gap between two doses of Serum Institute of India’s COVISHIELD to 12-16 weeks.

India started the world’s largest vaccination drive on January 16 this year in a phased manner with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated first. The vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2.

The next phase of Covid-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. India launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 from April 1.