As a result of the inaction and arbitrary delay by the Supreme Court, there are chances that people are dying or getting adversely affected with vaccines.
By Rakesh Raman
The Supreme Court of India has adjourned a writ petition that seeks public disclosure of Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial data and post vaccination data as required by international medical norms.
According to the Live Law news site, a bench of Justices LN Rao and AS Oka ordered on November 8 to list the case on November 29, 2021. The petitioner Dr.Jacob Puliyel contends that vaccine mandates are still being issued and people are losing their jobs because they are not willing to get vaccinated.
Earlier, in August, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to the Indian government to file its response on this petition seeking transparency of Covid-19 vaccine data. The petition has sought information on the clinical trials conducted for Covid-19 vaccines while there are serious doubts about the efficacy of Covid vaccines.
Pulayil – a former member of the government’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization – has filed the petition through advocate Prashant Bhushan. It has named the Central government, Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation represented through Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and vaccine manufacturers Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) and Serum Institute of India (Covishield) as respondents.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times on August 10, a bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose issued the notice on the petition. But the judges said their notice should not send a signal on the safety of the vaccines which could add to vaccine hesitancy, as the pandemic situation is still grave in the country.
The petition has demanded data from the government for each phase of the clinical trials and stated that people are being deprived of their livelihood and access to essential services for not being vaccinated. The petition also sought an interim stay on such vaccine mandates, particularly when the data on the effectiveness of vaccines is not available publicly.
As a journalist and social activist, I (Rakesh Raman) had filed a petition before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India in June to get the fundamental human right of bodily autonomy of the people of India protected as the Government of India and state governments are carrying out Covid-19 tests and vaccination drives.
Bodily integrity means the inviolability of the physical body and it allows personal autonomy, self-ownership, and self-determination of human beings over their own bodies. The violation of the bodily integrity of another person is regarded as an unethical infringement, intrusive, and a possible criminal act, and therefore it amounts to human rights violation. But the NHRC sent me a vague, off-the-cuff response and did not allow me to discuss the issue further.
Bhushan alleged that data on the adverse events following immunization was being suppressed, endangering more lives. As a result of the inaction and arbitrary delay by the Supreme Court, there are chances that people are dying or getting adversely affected with vaccines. Since most courts and judges in India lack domain expertise and judges lack courage to take any decision that may displease their government bosses, the Indian legal system is plagued by random judgments and long delays.
As a result, there is a backlog of nearly 4 crore (40 million) pending cases in the Supreme Court, various high courts, and the district and subordinate courts. Reports suggest that the pending court cases in India have been rising rapidly during the past one year when the courts became even more sluggish during the coronavirus outbreak.
MYSTERY OF VACCINATION
As mystery continues to shroud the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccination projects, it is difficult to know if more people are dying with infection or with vaccination. Since a number of cases came up during the past few months where people got infected after receiving the vaccine, the debate has shifted from vaccine distribution to vaccine safety.
Contrary to the Covid-19 vaccine efficacy claims, hundreds of fully vaccinated people are being admitted to hospitals with the highly noxious Delta coronavirus variant. New studies reveal that people vaccinated against Covid-19 are just as likely to spread the Delta variant of the virus to others in their surroundings as those who have not been vaccinated.
In a year-long study of people in the UK with modest Covid-19, scientists have found that their peak viral load was similar regardless of vaccination status. According to a paper published on October 28 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal, the analysis also found that 25% of vaccinated household contacts still contracted the disease from an index case, while 38% of unvaccinated individuals became infected.
According to The Lancet study, the SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant is highly transmissible and spreading globally, including in populations with high vaccination rates. The analysts aimed to investigate transmission and viral load kinetics in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals with mild Delta variant infection in the community.
The other reasons for the spike in Covid-19 cases and probable deaths are believed to be the diminishing effect of vaccines after a few months of vaccination and reckless lifting of restrictions in most parts of the world.
Although WHO and other health agencies are recommending booster doses even after full vaccination, the efficacy of boosters is not yet established. Also, data reveals that 60% of the world population is not yet fully vaccinated. Therefore, booster doses cannot be used on such a large population which is still unvaccinated.
In order to increase vaccine acceptance in India, it is essential to publicly release vaccine data as demanded by the Supreme Court petition. It is also required because effective vaccination has happened only for a very small population of India, while there are reports that Covid-19 cases are increasing although the data released by the Indian government cannot be trusted.
According to the independent Financial Times Covid-19 global vaccination tracker, as of November 7, India had fully vaccinated just 24.8% of its population of 1.4 billion.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also runs Green Group of Delhi.
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