Before the Supreme Court, the Central Government said unequivocally that there is no COVID-19 vaccine obligation and that vaccination is voluntary and not mandatory. The submissions were made in an affidavit filed in response to Supreme Court directions issued on December 3, 2021, in which the court gave petitioners the freedom to formulate concrete suggestions to strengthen the existing framework for protecting disabled citizens in ensuring proper access to Covid 19 vaccination and asked the Union Government to consider them.
According to the affidavit, “In addition to English, the CoWIN public interface is said to be available in 11 regional languages. It is also claimed that open files of awareness materials have been supplied with the states for translation, publication, and distribution in any language or format that is accessible. "It is indicated that vaccination for COVID-19 is of greater public interest in view of the ongoing pandemic problem," the Union health ministry declared in the affidavit.
The Government has stated that no one can be forced to be vaccinated against their will, despite the fact that Covid-19 vaccination is in the public interest and has been duly advised, advertised, and communicated through various print and social media platforms that all citizens should get vaccinated.
The Union of India has informed the Court that a total of 23678 doses of vaccine have been given to disabled people who voluntarily opted to be designated as such by registering with their Unique Disability ID Card/Disability Certificate at the time of vaccination.
In response to the petitioner's assertions that people with disabilities should be exempt from having to produce vaccination certificates, the government has responded that it has not issued any SOPs that make vaccination certificates required for any reason.
The Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFIs) are tracked by a well-structured and robust AEFI surveillance system that has survived the test of time, according to the Union of India. Any suspected adverse events following the COVID-19 vaccine may be reported on the COWIN portal by the vaccine recipient or his/her caregiver, according to the AEFI surveillance recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine. The Government further notified the Court that a grievance redressal process exists, and that all grievances, including those received from people with disabilities, are promptly addressed.
According to reports, the Indian government and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have issued directions and rules prohibiting forced vaccination without the consent of the person impacted. The Ministry of Health emphasised the importance of continuing to utilise face masks or face covers, and stated that the "Har Ghar Dastak Abhiyan" was being implemented for door-to-door immunisation of eligible people, including those with disabilities. It further informed the Supreme Court that people without ID cards are still eligible for vaccination because the CoWIN website allows them to create special vaccination sessions for this purpose.