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SC raps Centre for paid vaccination policy for 18-44 age group

New Delhi, Jun 2 (UNI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the Centre’s policy of free vaccination for those 45 and above and a paid system for those between 18-44 age group is “arbitrary and irrational”.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat in the suo motu case on Covid-19 related issues, asserted that many people in the 18-44 years age group have not only been infected by Covid-19 but have also suffered severe complications, including prolonged hospitalisation and deaths in some unfortunate cases.

“Due to the importance of vaccinating individuals in the 18-44 age group, the policy of the Centre for conducting free vaccination themselves for groups under the first two phases, and replacing it with paid vaccination by the state/UT governments and private hospitals for the persons between 18 to 44 years is, prima facie, arbitrary and irrational,” the top court observed.

The bench has directed the Centre to review its vaccination policy and furnish a roadmap of projected availability of vaccines till 31 December 2021, while pointing out several other loopholes in the context of shortage of vaccine for rural people.

The next hearing of the case would be on June 30.

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