Whether “right to refuse” COVID Vaccination can be exercised?
By Khushi Kundu
Madras High Court raises doubts over “the right to refuse” to take the vaccine
Madras High Court
“When such larger interest of public health comes into play and it is possible that a person who has not taken the vaccine may not reveal any symptoms but still be a silent carrier, it is doubtful whether the right to refuse to take the vaccine can be exercised in such circumstances,” commented Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy while dealing with a PIL(M. Karpagam v. Commissionarate for Welfare of Differently-Abled & Anr) filed by a visually impaired lawyer— M. Karpagam, for vaccination of persons who are either homebound or are suffering from serious disabilities.
While State’s Advocate General R Shunmugasundaram submitted that with the growing cases, there has also been a growth of reluctance among the common mass when it comes down to taking the vaccine.
The Court said that, the State should make arrangements for ‘Awareness Campaigns’ to inform people about the effectiveness of taking the Vaccine.
The Madras High Court said that the state report mentions suitable measures taken or planned to be taken for vaccination at rehabilitation homes and mental care centers. but there is no plan in the vicinity for individuals with disabilities who are homebound and do not have the sources to travel, specifically withinside the semi-city and rural areas.
The Bench is of the view that vaccinating oneself may not only protect oneself but also lies in the larger interest of public health. Although, the vaccination drive in the State has just begun the bench hoped that all persons with disabilities, irrespective of status and resources, shall be taken care of by the State in due course.
In a contrasting decision, Meghalaya High Court recently held that forceful vaccination impinges on the fundamental right of citizens. It stated that people have an “informed choice” concerning vaccination.