Supreme Court Case: Can India Meet Its Vaccination Targets?
The Supreme Court of India must consider all the holes in the government’s vaccination plan instead of accepting it blindly.
By Rakesh Raman
The courts in India are so weak that they can’t dare to challenge the decisions of the government headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi. At max, the courts – including the Supreme Court of India – make loose statements against the government, but they hardly convict any government functionary for their wrongdoing.
The courts have particularly abdicated their responsibility during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. Instead of holding the politicians and bureaucrats responsible and taking punitive actions against them, the courts have only issued some censure statements. In April, for example, the Madras High Court said that the Election Commission should face murder charges for allowing crowded election rallies.
Then the court criticized the Indian government for mishandling the Covid situation. The news reports have only been carrying phrases such as “court slams…,” “court censures…,” “court raps…,” or “court criticizes…” But they do not say “court convicts…” for any minister or official who failed to perform their duties responsibly during the pandemic. The high courts as well as the Supreme Court have made vulgar remarks against the governments for their negligence. But such remarks have no judicial relevance.
As India has become a burning Covid hotspot because of the recklessness of the Modi government, the Supreme Court recently mustered courage to ask the Modi government about its vaccination policy. In its 375-page affidavit filed by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Modi government informed the top court that a total of 135 crore (1.35 billion) vaccines would be available for the Indian population of 1.4 billion between August 2021 and December 2021.
Although there are serious doubts about the availability of vaccine quantity stated by the government, the Supreme Court – which is expected to examine the government affidavit on June 30 – is unlikely to analyze the authenticity of data given in the affidavit.
There are glaring flaws in figures. According to the Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker of the Financial Times, India could vaccinate only 4% of its population as of June 26. But in its vaccination roadmap submitted in the Supreme Court, the Indian government has said that the entire population would receive Covid-19 shots by December 2021.
How is it possible? The nationwide vaccination of persons above 60 and those over 45 with illnesses had begun on March 1 when PM Modi claimed that he had taken a Covid shot. That means, India could vaccinate only 4% people in 4 months. As a rule of thumb, the country would vaccinate 100% of its people in 100 months (more than 8 years).
Although the government states that it would procure vaccines from external sources, the vaccination time frame cannot be shrinked from 8 years to a few months. Even if you have vaccine doses, it is almost impossible to administer these doses to 1.4 billion people by December 2021 simply because of the poor healthcare resources and scarcity of trained staff in India.
Indian Government = Modi Government = Modi
Since Modi is an autocratic ruler, he takes and imposes his decisions on citizens without taking the advice from domain experts. Although Modi is an uneducated religious demagogue, he lives under a false impression that he knows everything. In fact, this is his inferiority complex which forces him to take despotic decisions.
In order to show his false competence, Modi has surrounded himself with spineless bureaucrats, BJP bootlickers, and timid court judges who do not question Modi and his reckless decisions. Moreover, the politicians in opposition parties are so weak that they exist as mere zombies who cannot challenge Modi and his barbaric actions.
Thus, the Indian government is nothing but the Modi government which is Modi himself. Result: Catastrophic disaster for the people of India. Its severity can only be compared with The Holocaust – the genocide of European Jews during World War II.
The Modi government has been telling blatant lies and hiding data about the impact of infections for the past over a year. Now, it has started spreading falsehood about the vaccination facts and figures. Assuming that the government somehow administers one dose of vaccine to the entire population of India by the end of this year, it will still need many more months or years to fully vaccinate all the people.
During this entire period, the people who are not vaccinated will keep dying and the virus will keep mutating to evade the effect of the vaccines. Multiple research reports suggest that the new Delta variant may breach vaccination shields and even vaccinated people could get infected.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has warned that the Delta variant, first identified in India, can cause serious damage in the European Union (EU) region. The efficacy of the prevailing vaccines has not yet been tested on the emerging variants.
One of India’s top virologists Professor Shahid Jameel has said he fears the Delta+ mutation – also known as AY.1 (B.1.617.2.1) – might be able to evade both immunity from vaccination as well as immunity conferred by earlier infections.
Moreover, there are serious doubts about the effectiveness of vaccines available in India. Covishield, a version of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), has not been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the European market.
Travellers vaccinated with Covishield may not be eligible for the European Union’s ‘Green Pass’ that will be available for use from July 1. Similarly, Covaxin, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, is still waiting for an approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO). But these dubious vaccines are being recklessly used in India without publicly revealing their impact.
The Supreme Court of India is supposed to consider all these holes in the government’s vaccination plan instead of accepting it blindly. But as they are timid and ignorant, the court judges are not expected to raise concerns over the vaccination roadmap submitted by the Modi government.
Worse, Modi will keep patting on his own back for the utterly flawed vaccination policy that he has released. With the exaggerated hype over vaccination, he may succeed in hoodwinking the court judges and people at large. But the concerns would persist over the remedial value of vaccines.
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.
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