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Don't spare 'big fish' in fake vaccination cases: Bombay HC to Mumbai police

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni also directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to inform the court about steps that the civic body proposed to take to check those duped by such camps for antibodies and any adverse effects on their health because of the fake vaccine.

June 29, 2021 / 02:26 PM IST

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said the Mumbai police, probing instances of fake vaccination camps against COVID-19 in the city, must identify the 'big fish' in such cases and should not spare them.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni also directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to inform the court about steps that the civic body proposed to take to check those duped by such camps for antibodies and any adverse effects on their health because of the fake vaccine.

The court was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) on increasing the accessibility of citizens to the vaccination drives against COVID-19.

The state's counsel, advocate Deepak Thakare, told the HC that seven FIRs had been registered and 13 people arrested in the case. He said the probe into the case is still going on.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The BMC's counsel, senior advocate Anil Sakhare, told the court that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for private COVID-19 vaccination camps for housing societies and offices will be finalised by Wednesday.

The HC then said advocate Thakare must tell the investigating officers in the case not to spare anyone found to be involved in the 'scam'.

'There might be big fish yet to be identified. They must be identified and should not be spared. Tell the police the investigation must be proper and no one should be left out,' the court said.

It further said the BMC must inform the court of the steps it was planning to take to test the victims.

The court asked why the BMC and state authorities were so far unable to determine what the victims were administered in the name of anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

'This appears to be a state failure. Why doesn't the corporation think of testing? What are you thinking of doing for the unfortunate people, you must tell us on Thursday,' the HC said.

The state and the BMC had earlier told the high court that a total of 2,053 people across the city fell victim to the fake vaccination camps.

The HC will continue hearing the PILs on July 1.

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PTI
first published: Jun 29, 2021 02:26 pm
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