Clinical trials are underway to ascertain efficacy of administering a third dose of COVID vaccine and it will take several months to complete, the Centre told the Kerala High Court on Thursday while opposing a man’s plea for a third jab of an internationally recognised vaccine so that he can go abroad for work.
The man, who was working as a welder in Saudi Arabia, moved the court for a third jab as the two doses of COVAXIN he has received is not recognised or approved in the Gulf nation and therefore, he stands to lose his job there as he cannot go there without being vaccinated by an internationally recognised vaccine.
The central government told Justice P B Suresh Kumar that the only option in the instant case was for the man to await the results of the clinical trials.
The Centre said that the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) is the body which decides the policy on vaccination and it was still considering the efficacy of administering a third dose.
It also said that petitioner was seeking a third dose of another vaccine which would result in a mix-match of vaccines and the same was not approved by any expert body here.
The court, on the other hand, asked the Centre why the petitioner cannot be permitted to take the third jab at his own risk as suggested by him to save his livelihood.
The court said that since the Centre was not willing to provide him a job or mediate with the Saudi government on his behalf, the WHO was yet to give approval to COVAXIN and clinical trials on efficacy of third jab were still ongoing, how will the petitioner survive without a job.
“Nobody wants to burn their fingers,” the court observed.
Justice Kumar said how can the court say it cannot help him when he has come before it seeking to protect his livelihood.
The counsel for the petitioner said his client was willing to take the third jab at his risk.
He also said that there were news reports which stated that the head of Serum Institute has recommended taking third “booster” jabs and has also taken it.
The court, after hearing both sides, said it will consider the matter and pass orders.
The Centre had earlier filed an affidavit in the court contending that a third dose cannot be administered to those who have already taken two doses of a vaccine.
The petitioner, in his plea, has contended that he has to return to Saudi Arabia before August 30 as per his visa conditions and if he does not do so, he could end up losing his job.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)