Serum Institute of India (SII), the company manufacturing Covishield — the local version of the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, has sought indemnity protection against liabilities, news agency ANI reported quoting sources.
Sources added that not just SII, all the vaccine companies should get indemnity protection against liabilities if foreign companies are granted emergency use authorisation.
Earlier on Wednesday, Adar Poonawalla, CEO, SII, had said that vaccine manufacturers need to have protection against all lawsuits for their vaccines especially during a pandemic.
“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,” he said.
India has so far not given any manufacturer of a Covid-19 vaccine indemnity against the costs of compensation for any severe side effects.
Reports are doing the rounds that the government could favour granting indemnity to American pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna. According to a PTI report, government sources have dropped hints that like other countries, the Centre will also grant indemnity to the companies if they apply for emergency use authorisation.
SII had recently 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. He had also sought Rs 5 crore compensation in a legal notice to Serum and others, besides seeking a halt on the trial