The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre and Delhi govt on a petition seeking direction to immediately vaccinate children in the national capital between the ages of 12-17 years.
The petition also sought direction to prioritize vaccination amongst parents having children up to 17 years of age, especially small children i.e., newborns to 12 years of age.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh has asked the Centre and Delhi government to file a reply on the petition and listed the matter for June 4.
The petition has been filed by 12-year-old Tia Gupta and 8-year-old Roma Raheja in public interest seeking direction from this Court to the respondents Centre and others to give COVID-19 vaccines to children in India and to include their parents in the priority category for COVID-19 vaccination on an emergent basis.
"The second wave of COVID-19 has affected children in India far more than it did in the first wave which affected the nation in the year 2020. The respondents should be mindful that the virulence and spread of the infection under the second wave have been far more in 2021 than it was in the first wave. Thus, news reports based on the advice of medical doctors, virologists, who predict that a third wave would be more virulent for children should not be ignored and all measures should be taken now to ensure that adequate medical facilities are available in case the same was to be a reality," the petition said.
The plea said, "After reading reports and news articles and such anxiety is only adding up to the mental trauma being faced by children her age who are susceptible to the infection, as there are no measures being taken by the respondents to ensure that they are protected from the virulence of the COVID-19 infection."
The petitioners, in the PIL filed by advocates Bihu Sharma and Abhinav Mukerji, have urged the court to put in place appropriate vaccine protocol for children residing in Delhi and to make the same available expeditiously.
It also sought direction from the respondents to give priority in vaccination to parents of children who are residing in Delhi.
The petitioner also urged the court to formulate a comprehensive National Plan with respect to children covering all aspects of their protection from the ill effects of the pandemic.