COVID-19 vaccination based on profession discriminatory: Centre informs Supreme Court

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive carried by the Government of India across the nation, it informed the Supreme Court today that it would be discriminatory for prioritising judges, lawyers, and other members of the legal fraternity in the drive. Listing anyone on the grounds of profession for the inoculation is not in the government's agenda. It was responding to a notice issued based on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking such a consideration.

As per a report in NDTV, the Centre in its affidavit informed, "Covid-19 vaccination drive cannot be carried out based on a separate class for lawyers. It is not in the national interest to prioritise vaccination based on profession. That would amount to discrimination." The PIL had wanted judges, judicial employees, lawyers, and members of legal fraternity to be given the vaccination on a priority.

Filed in the last month by Arvind Singh, the PIL read, "the police, security forces, revenue officials - all these people have been given priority but all these people, whatever they do, culminates into the judicial system. Lawyers, judicial staff, judges are not included in the priority list for the vaccine".

India's massive vaccination drive for COVID-19 was launched on 16th January, with the first phase focused on around 30 million healthcare and designated frontline workers, such as sanitation and security workers. India has nearly administered three crore cumulative vaccination doses with a total of 2,97,38,409 through 5,10,400 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am on Sunday (March 14).

These include 73,31,498 Health Care Workers who have taken the 1st dose and 42,58,297 HCWs who have taken the 2nd dose, 72,96,474 Front Line Workers (1st dose), 10,53,732 FLWs (2nd dose), 78,66,241 beneficiaries more than 60 years old and 13,86,305 beneficiaries aged 45 and above with specific co-morbidities.

States including Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh are witnessing a steep rise in the daily new COVID-19 cases and have reported 87.73 per cent of the new cases in the last 24 hours.

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