No One Can Be Forced To Get Vaccinated”: Supreme Court’s Order On Forced Vaccinations

New Delhi: No one can be forced to take the vaccine, the Supreme Court said today, adding that the current policy “cannot be said to be manifestly arbitrary”.

The Supreme Court stated, “Body integrity is protected by law, and no one can be forced to get vaccinated.” The court claimed that certain restrictions on individual rights could only be enforced in the interest of collective health.

The court stated that restrictions imposed on individuals through vaccine requirements cannot be termed proportional, referring to some states requiring people to acquire the Covid shot in order to enter public venues.

“Till infection numbers are low we suggest that no restriction is imposed on individuals on access to public places, services and resources. Recall the same if already done,” the Supreme Court ordered.

The judges went on to say that their orders didn’t cover Covid-appropriate behavior, but only vaccines in the “rapidly developing scenario.”

The Supreme Court also ordered the Centre to post reports of vaccine-related adverse events from people and clinicians on a publicly accessible basis without jeopardizing the privacy of those who report them.

“Regarding segregation of vaccine trial data, subject to the privacy of individuals, all trials already conducted and to be subsequently conducted, all data must be made available to the public without further delay,” the court said.

“Regarding vaccine for children, it is not possible for us to second guess the opinion of experts and the vaccination indeed follows the global standards and practices. However, data of adverse reactions to be published at the earliest.”

A Supreme Court bench led by Judges LN Rao and BR Gavai was considering a case opposing forced vaccinations. Making vaccination a condition for receiving benefits or services, according to the petition, is a breach of citizens’ rights and hence unlawful. It highlighted states that require immunization for state employees, for public transportation, and for access to subsidized food grains.

Jacob Puliyel, a former member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), also demanded that Covid vaccine clinical trial data be made public in his petition.

The vaccinations being delivered, according to the petition, had not been thoroughly studied for safety or efficacy and were licensed under emergency use authorization without data being made public.

The petition, the Centre contended in court, was “against national interest” and would lead to vaccine reluctance. It also stated that vaccination is optional, but that states have imposed mandates “based on possible dangers.”

Vaccine manufacturers such as Adar Poonwalla’s Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech informed the court that all trial data was already available.

States such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh defended their vaccine mandates, claiming that they are necessary for everyone’s protection, particularly those who use public transportation.

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