Serum Institute of India (SII) chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla wants makers of covid-19 vaccines to be indemnified from liability in case there are any serious adverse effects or any other claims to their shots during a pandemic.
Making his comments during a virtual panel discussion on the challenges to vaccine development, he said his company plans to propose this to the government. Poonawalla was speaking at Carnegie India’s Global Technology Summit held on Friday.
Expressing his concerns, he said that such issues could increase fear against getting vaccinated, also “bankrupt or distract” companies making these shots.
The government, he advised, should bring a law as it would help companies focus on developing and manufacturing the vaccines rather than having to address legal issues. The US, has already invoked a law to indemnify vaccine manufacturers against lawsuits for severe adverse effects or any other frivolous claims which may come about during the pandemic, he said.
His comments came after one of the participants, who had taken SII’s Covishield as part of mid-to late-stage clinical trials to test the safety and immunogenicity of the Covid-19 vaccine in India, sent SII a legal notice seeking Rs 5 crore in compensation. The participant had alleged that the vaccine had caused severe neurological side-effects. SII, however, rejected the charges as “malicious and misconceived” and threatened to sue the participant in excess of Rs 100 crore, according to reports.