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SII chief wants govt to indemnify vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits during pandemic

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Serum Institute of India (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla has requested the Union government to indemnify it against litigations related to their vaccines, especially during a pandemic.

He said vaccine manufacturers need to have protections against lawsuits and that they are going to propose the same to the government.

Poonawalla said this while speaking at a virtual panel on the challenges of developing a COVID-19 vaccine at Carnegie India’s Global Technology Summit on Friday.

“We need to have the government indemnify manufacturers, especially vaccine manufacturers, against all lawsuits. In fact, COVAX and other countries have already started talking about that,” Poonawalla said.

Right information

It is because when frivolous claims come up, and something is blown out of proportion in the media, skepticism sets in that definitely something can happen due to the vaccine and to dispel that, the government needs to step in to spread the right information, he added.

“..the government can act, the US, for example, has in fact invoked a law, to say that during a pandemic, and this is especially important only during a pandemic, to indemnify vaccine manufacturers against lawsuits for severe adverse effects or any other frivolous claims which may come about, because that adds to the fear and also will bankrupt vaccine manufacturers or distract them if they have to just all day fight lawsuits and explain to the media what is happening,” Poonawalla said.

These are a few things that the government can do and that is what the vaccine manufacturers are going to propose, he added.

Controversy over SII vaccine’s side effects

In November, Serum had rejected charges that a 40-year-old man who took part in the ‘Covishield’ vaccine trial in Chennai had levelled against the company, alleging serious side effects, including a virtual neurological breakdown and impairment of cognitive functions.

Also Read: 26,624 fresh COVID-19 cases, 341 deaths reported in a day in India

He had also sought Rs 5 crore compensation in a legal notice to Serum and others, besides seeking a halt on the trial.

Refuting the charges, Serum had said, “It is evident that the intention behind spreading such malicious information is an oblique pecuniary motive. The Serum Institute of India will seek damages in excess of Rs 100 crore for the same and will defend such malicious claims”.

Over 1 crore COVID-19 cases

The health ministry on Sunday informed that 26,624 fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported in India in the past 24 hours. The addition of the fresh cases has taken the COVID-19 case tally past 1 crore.

So far, the biggest single-day surge of 97,894 COVID-19 cases was reported in India on September 17. The second-highest surge of 97,570 COVID-19 cases was recorded on September 12. It is followed by 96,551 cases reported on September 11.

Notably, India has already surpassed Brazil in terms of cases. It is now the second-worst hit nation due to the coronavirus pandemic after the US.

 

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