THE COVID-19 VACCINATION DRIVE: INDIA

A strenuous task of #vaccinating over billions of people lies on India’s shoulders. In furtherance of this, the Centre-led two-day dry run of the #COVID19 Vaccination Programme has been concluded on 29th December 2020 in four states, i.e., Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr) in Punjab, Rajkot and Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Nalbari District in Assam.

In order to facilitate a more systematic roll out of the Vaccine, the Union Health Ministry has developed a digital platform, including an Application called #CoWin, for real-time monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccine delivery, recording data and to enable people to get themselves registered for Vaccination.

A “dry run” or practice run is a testing process aimed at analysing the preparedness and possible loopholes in the planning and preparation of the COVID -19 Immunization Program. This would help to mitigate the possible failures. In this process, a complete testing of the system mimicking all components of the actual process is undertaken before it is delivered to the actual end-users. The goal of this exercise is to enable an end-to-end mobilisation and testing of Vaccination process (except the actual vaccine) and check the usage of CoWIN in-field environment.

While India is all set to roll out the COVID-19 Vaccine in January,2021, it has to be wary of a possible misuse of the situation via circulation of a counterfeit vaccine. In this regard, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL)has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking the following directions:

  • Centre to issue strict guidelines under the Disaster Management Act 2005 to prevent selling of fake and counterfeit vaccine for COVID-19. 
  • Constitution of a special committee to prevent such selling and advertising by organisations, companies or online applications, and
  • Directions to the Centre to run an awareness program to educate citizens against the danger of counterfeit vaccination.


Meanwhile, a global warning has been issued by International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) asking law enforcement agencies to equip themselves to prepare an “onslaught on all types of criminal activity linked to COVID-19 vaccine” as these networks would be targeting unsuspecting members of the public with the lure of false cures which can pose a significant risk to their lives. India too needs to be well equipped to cope up with COVID crimes that can penetrate its vulnerable market of a billion people.

Pooja

Intern at The Indian Lawyer

LLM (IADR) student at National University of Singapore

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