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. The petition will be heard on March 15.
The central government is vaccinating people only those people above 60 years and above 45 years and above with specified comorbidities as per the recent phase of vaccination which was commenced on March 1.
Heart failure with hospital admission in the past one year, kidney, liver, hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients, decompensated cirrhosis, end-state Kidney disease is the medical conditions included in the priority list of comorbidities for vaccination.
Gaurav Kumar Bansal an advocate, has filed the petition quoting the Mental Healthcare Act 2017, which states that the Right to Health is a statutory right of a person with mental illness.
According to the petitioner, exclusion of the mental illness from the specified list is the violation of a basic right of mentally ill patients who are homeless.
Mr Bansal has also proposed to remove the condition of submitting disability certificates by the recipients of the vaccine dose.
"By way of the exclusion of the mental illness from the list of specified comorbidities, the Health Ministry has not only prohibited the patients from availing the benefits of the vaccine but has also created barriers in getting it. It is also important to keep in mind that homeless persons with severe mental illness have a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 infection due to their disability," the plea stated.
The Central government, Central Mental Health Authority and the National Expert Group on vaccine administration for Covid-19 are the respondents in the case.