Nobody can be forced to get COVID-19 jab: Supreme Court

Bodily integrity is protected under law (Article 21) and nobody can be forced to be vaccinated, the top court ruled

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The Supreme Court on Monday (May 2) said that no person can be forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and asked the Centre to make public the effect of such an immunisation.

“Bodily integrity is protected under law (Article 21) and nobody can be forced to be vaccinated,” a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai said.

The top court said the current COVID-19 vaccine policy cannot be said to be manifestly arbitrary and unreasonable.

“Till numbers are low, we suggest that relevant orders are followed and no restriction is imposed on unvaccinated individuals on access to public areas or recall the same if already not done,” the bench said.

Regarding segregation of vaccine trial data, subject to privacy of individuals, all trials conducted and to be subsequently conducted, all data must be made available to the public without further delay, it said.

The apex court also directed the central government to publish reports on adverse events of vaccines from the public and doctors on a publicly accessible system without compromising data of individuals.

“Regarding vaccine for children, it is not possible for us to second guess the opinion of experts and the vaccination indeed follows the global standards and practices. However, data of adverse reactions to be published at the earliest,” the court said.

The court delivered the judgement on a plea filed by Jacob Puliyel seeking directions for disclosure of data on clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines and post-jab cases.