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12-year-old girl questions Centre on vaccination for kids, moves Delhi HC

Tia Gupta has approached the court over the issue at a time when several reports state that children may be the most vulnerable group in case of a third wave.

A medical worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Ben Guerir, Morocco, on March 26, 2021. Source: Xinhua

New Delhi: A 12-year-old girl has moved the Delhi High Court for prioritising vaccination of children against COVID-19.

Tia told India Ahead, “I heard so many stories about how my classmates are suffering from mental health and they and their parents are getting COVID which made me wonder that why can’t we be vaccinated?”

Neoma Vasdev Gupta, Tia’s mother had suggested her to take the matter to court after the second wave. “I did not want to make it a blame game. But the second wave did make me lose belief in our political system. We only seek answers,” she said.

Tia’s lawyer in the court has asked the Centre for a comprehensive plan for vaccination of children aged between 12-17.

Bihu Sharma, who is representing Tia in court said, “We already have a Child Rights Policy that was passed in 2013 which many people don’t know about wherein the right of the child to be heard and to have an opinion is engrafted in our law”.

“During the pandemic, when every other so called vulnerable section of the society which children are a part of under the Indian law are being given some king of protection from COVID-19, Why not Children are getting those same rights,” added Sharma.

She also added that under the Disaster Management Act there is a provision for a National Plan which specifically states that children should be included to be part of any disaster resilient infrastructures or mitigation measures.

Over the question of dealing with lockdown and COVID-19, Tia said, “I have been reading a lot about the pandemic while also managing online classes”.

She also posed three questions to the government over the vaccination policy.

  • Why did the government ever think of vaccinating children between the age of 12 and 17?
  • Even if they did think about it, why didn’t take any steps about it?
  • Why did they did not provide information to the children about taking care of their mental and physical health during the pandemic?

Meanwhile, the government has said that Bharat Biotech’s vaccine for children is under advance stage of development.

Pfizer has also developed its own vaccination which has already been approved in many countries for inoculation.

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