COVID vaccine: Petition seeking inclusion of mental illness in comorbidity list filed

New Delhi: A petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking inclusion of severe mental illness in the list of specified comorbidities for Covid-19 vaccination of people aged between 45-59 years.

In the recent phase of vaccination which commenced on March 1, the Central government is vaccinating only those persons who are above 60 years and for those aged 45 years and above with specified comorbidities.

People with certain comorbidities, including heart failure with hospital admission in the past one year, kidney, liver, hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients, decompensated cirrhosis, end-state kidney disease are being prioritised for the vaccination.

The petition filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal has sought the inclusion of severe mental health issues to the list. He said the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, states that the Right to Health is a statutory right of a person with mental illness.

The case filed by the petitioner is that with exclusion of mental illnesses from the list and providing benefits of vaccination to persons with disabilities having high support needs, the Central government has not only prohibited homeless mentally-ill persons from availing the benefits of vaccination but has also created barriers for thousands of persons having severe mental illness and no disability certificate.

The petitioner also sought a direction to remove the condition of submitting disability certificates by beneficiaries for getting the vaccine dose. The hearing of the petition would take place on March 15. The Central government, Central Mental Health Authority and the National Expert Group on vaccine administration for Covid-19 are the respondents in the case.

(IANS)

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