Court notice on compliance with yellow fever vaccine guidelines

New Delhi, Dec 17 : The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the central government on a plea seeking compliance with the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on yellow fever vaccination at public health organisations in the city and at the airport.

Justice V.K. Jain sought a response from the health ministry, director general health services, airport public health organisation (APHO), Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, the New Delhi Municipal Council and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (north) by April 28 next year.

A couple who lost their 22-year-old son on May 31, 2012 due to the side effects of the yellow fever vaccine, moved the court alleging that the basic procedure that has been prescribed by the WHO and has been adopted by the central government is not followed by any of the public health organisations (PHO) or APHO.

Seeking strict compliance with the WHO guidelines, the couple - Kiran Deep and Swinder Bir Singh Baweja - told the court that their son Paramjot Baweja lost his life on account of anaphylactic reaction of yellow fever vaccine.

"Several deaths have taken place in India on account of side effect of yellow fever vaccine but there is no record to this effect either with ministry of health and WHO," the plea said.

It added that besides lack of infrastructure and acute shortage of yellow fever vaccine, the centre is making it practically impossible to follow the prescribed guidelines in an effective way which results in loss of lives.

The plea sought the constitution of a team or board of doctors or court commissioner to visit yellow fever vaccine centres to "check functioning and process adopted by such vaccination centres and to verify the compliance of guidelines as has been prescribed by WHO".

It also asked the central government to display the side effects of yellow fever vaccine at various centres and public places.

The WHO norms make it mandatory for every foreigner travelling to 33 African and 11 South American countries to be vaccinated 10 days before their date of arrival as yellow fever is endemic there.

The vaccine is available at all international airports and other centres across the country.

--IANS (Posted on 17-12-2013)

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