Kochi: Can someone availing COVISHIELD vaccine at their own expense be allowed to take the second dose four weeks after the first or do they have to wait for 84 days was an issue being examined by the Kerala High Court, which on Tuesday reserved its order in the matter.
The issue came before the high court through a plea moved by Kitex Garments Ltd seeking permission to administer the second dose of COVISHIELD vaccine to its workers without having to wait for 84 days.
Kitex in its plea has said that it has already vaccinated more than 5,000 of its workers with the first dose and has arranged for the second dose at a cost of nearly Rs 93 lakh, but was unable to administer the same due to the prevailing restrictions.
Justice P B Suresh Kumar, after hearing arguments on behalf of the Centre, state government and Kitex, said he will pronounce his decision on September 2.
Advocate Blaze K Jose, appearing for Kitex, said he argued before the court that the government can impose the 84 days gap between the two doses if someone is availing the vaccine through them.
However, if a person was paying for it from his pocket, he should be allowed to take the dose after four weeks, which is the minimum prescribed gap between two doses for the vaccine to be effective, Jose told the court.
He said the 84 days gap was prescribed for maximum efficacy, but the second dose can be taken after four weeks also, though the efficacy may not be that high.
Jose said that he told the court that people going abroad, including athletes participating in Olympics, were allowed to take the second dose after four weeks from the first and they did not have to wait for 84 days.
The Centre has opposed the plea by contending that the 84-day gap between two doses of COVISHIELD was fixed to increase the efficacy of the vaccine, as recommended by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) and was also based on the technical inputs provided by the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG)....