The Kerala High Court on Tuesday (August 24) asked the government to clarify if the 84-day gap between the two doses of Covishield was based on availability of shots or the COVID vaccine’s efficacy.
Justice PB Suresh Kumar made the query while hearing a plea by Kitex Garments Ltd which had sought the court’s permission to administer the second dose of Covishield to its workers.
The judge said if efficacy was the reason for the gap, then he was “worried” as he was administered the second dose within four to six weeks of the first dose. Justice Kumar told the government that if availability was the reason behind the gap, then people and companies (like Kitex) who can afford the vaccine should be allowed to take the second dose without waiting for 84 days.
The court has also instructed the Centre to provide scientific data if efficacy was the reason behind the gap.
With the direction, the matter was listed for hearing on August 26 after the lawyer for the Centre sought time till Thursday to seek instructions.
Earlier, on August 12, the high court had asked the Kerala government why it was permitting the second dose of vaccine only after expiry of 84 days from the first dose.
The court had also asked the Centre what was the reason for increasing the gap between first and second dose of Covishield from the earlier four weeks to 12-16 weeks.
On Tuesday, the state government said it was following the COVID vaccination guidelines issued by the Centre.
Subsequently, the lawyer for the Centre sought more time to answer the courts query.
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, but was unable to administer the same due to the prevailing restrictions.
(With inputs from agencies)