End the vaccine mandates!
End the vaccine mandates!
The UT Chandigarh Administration has recently doled out a draconian vaccine diktat, which is inconsistent with the guidelines laid down by the Union Health Ministry. Despite the Health Ministry's assertion that vaccination against Covid is voluntary, and hence the refusal to take the jab cannot be a basis for the denial of public services, the UT Administration is pressing ahead with unlawful vaccine mandates in the city.
The proof of vaccination or a negative RT-PCR test is now mandatory for the delivery of public services in the city. Even the unvaccinated staff members are barred from entering government offices, let alone the visitors.
UT Adviser Dharam Pal has publicly defended this arbitrary and unscientific rule by falsely painting it as a necessary measure needed to avert the thrid wave.
By doing so, the UT Administration is giving short shrift to some objective facts about the virus, the vaccines and the legality of such measures:-
- Fully vaccinated people can also catch and pass on COVID-19. The main purpose of inoculation against Covid is to preclude severe illness, and not to stop transmission. Seventy-five percent of the COVID patients in Singapore were all fully vaccinated, as reported on July 23, 21. Ten out of the 76 Maharashtrians infected with the Delta Plus variant were double-jabbed, while twelve of them had already received the first dose, as reported on August 16, 21.  
- Under the UT Administration's current guidelines, even partially vaccinated citizens can gain entry into public offices, despite the fact that it takes almost two weeks following the second dose for protective levels of antibodies to develop in the body.
- Many of us have already had COVID-19, and several credible studies have found that natural immunity is robust and long-lasting. A recent Isareli study even states that the immunity gained from prior COVID infection is much stronger than the vaccine-induced immunity. 
- This is an unconstitutional overreach of power. The Meghalaya High Court ruled earlier this year that such vaccine mandates are a violation of our rights. The Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court also stayed a government order mandating the government employees to get jabbed, months back. The Manipur High Court also noted in July this year that linking one's livelihood to his or her status of vaccination is an illegal act.   
- While the vaccines are mostly safe and effective, some rare but severe or potentially fatal side effects of the Covid jab include cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), myocarditis, pericarditis, anaphylaxis, Bell's palsy, among others. Over 26,000 adverse events and 488 deaths following COVID-19 vaccination were reported in India between mid-January and early June this year. The Union Health Ministry, however, maintains that not all of the cases are necessarily linked to the jab. Only one death directly linked to the Covid vaccine has been confirmed by the Centre so far. In all fairness, it is just a miniscule number out of the total population that has been vaccinated, but it still does matter.     
- This undemocratic vaccine diktat is not mindful of the contraindications to the COVID jab.
The vaccines are accessible to all those who are eligible and willing to take it. Citizens, especially those with co-morbidities, or those who are elderly and infirm, have had ample of time to take the vaccine. There is no excuse for still imposing these restrictions on the pretext of protecting the citizens.
- Such strong-arm measures further discourage many vaccine-hesitant groups from taking the jab, per a recent study. 
- Vaccinated or not, every citizen is entitled to civil liberties and government services. Denying services to the tax-paying citizens on the pretext of encouraging them to take the Covid shot is pure coercion.
This measure is not rooted in science, but is predicated on a baseless assumption that unvaccinated citizens (including the Covid-recovered ones) are Covid carriers and that the vaccinated ones cannot carry the virus. Nothing could be further from the truth. The government can support the vaccination drive, without resorting to such heavy-handed tactics which achieve nothing but encroach upon the citizens' fundamental rights.
I, the undersigned, hereby call upon the UT Administration to lift this toothless, anti-science and unconstitutional mandate with immediate effect.