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In a recent judgment, the Madras High Court ruled that teachers not willing to take a jab need not come to schools. The first bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwer Nath Bhandari and Justice P D Audikesavalu refused to hear the Public Interest Litigation challenging the vaccine mandate for teachers.

The court termed the PIL as against public interest and not in the interest of the larger population. Dr V Pugazhendhi, hailed as a people’s doctor working in villages near Kalpakkam, says the judgment fails to understand the scientific fact that COVID19 could infect the fully vaccinated. Such infected people could very well transmit the disease. Pugazhendhi points out the previous judgment of former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee on the vaccine mandate. The former CJ had ruled that the government should not force vaccines on people.

Dr. V. Pugazhendi

The Tamil Nadu government, responding to a Right to Information petition about the vaccine mandate filed in the month of September, 2021 , has stated that it has not passed any order mandating vaccines. The Union Health Ministry, responding to an RTI application, ruled out any compensation in case of adverse reactions to vaccines. The vaccines are taken at our own risk. Governments or vaccine companies are not responsible for any adverse impact, the health ministry has ruled, says Dr Pugazhendi.

The Tamil Nadu government, responding to a Right to Information petition about the vaccine mandate filed in the month of September, 2021 , has stated that it has not passed any order mandating vaccines. The Union Health Ministry, responding to an RTI application, ruled out any compensation in case of adverse reactions to vaccines. The vaccines are taken at our own risk

In such circumstances, it is not fair to force the vaccines on teachers. A research article published in Lancet says the cycle threshold (CT) value of the fully vaccinated is 22.8 while the value is 21.5 for the unvaccinated. CT value refers to the number of cycles needed to amplify viral RNA to reach a detectable level. Such a negligible CT value shows vaccination has little impact on transmission, the physician argues.

COVID19 transmission in the state is under control. The daily caseload has not exceeded 750. The government should not be forcing teachers to do compulsory vaccination, he says.

Pugazhendhi also cited the lack of government orders mandating vaccines. Besides, vaccines for children are yet to be rolled out.

There is also an allergic reaction factor to injections. Penicillin is the first antibiotic. There have been casualties for penicillin allergy in history. The Union government has exempted people from vaccines if they are allergic. Reports say vaccinated people are getting infected in neighbouring Kerala. Statistics with the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) reveal that COVID19 deaths witnessed a peak in spite of increased vaccination in the country, he says. Herd immunity is an important factor to stop the spread of a pandemic. Total vaccination is not said to be a tool for achieving it. The scientific community says 80% herd immunity is required to stop the COVID spread. In case of mutations, herd immunity should be 90%.

Herd immunity is an important factor to stop the spread of a pandemic. Total vaccination is not said to be a tool for achieving it. The scientific community says 80% herd immunity is required to stop the COVID spread

The new mutant Omicron is said to be capable of infecting the fully vaccinated. Research is underway to determine if the vaccines are effective against the mutant. The vaccine coverage in Africa is a mere 6 percent. The World Health Organization has termed this disparity as ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’. Tedros Adhanom, Director of General of WHO, says total vaccine will not be enough to stop the pandemic.

Based on the above, Dr Pugazhendhi questions the Tamil Nadu government’s logic of mandating vaccines for teachers. He advocates a thorough discussion on scientific facts before the government imposes the vaccine mandate on teachers.


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