Mumbai: The Serum Institute of India (SII) on Friday urged the Bombay High Court to pass an order in its defamation suit seeking restrain on two individuals and their organisations who have been allegedly posting erroneous content against the company and its CEO Adar Poonawalla. The defamatory remarks were made after a person filed a petition that his daughter died after taking Covishield.
SII’s suit, seeking damages to the tune of Rs100 crore, states that the defendants – one Yohan Tengra, his organisation Anarchy for Freedom India, one Ambar Koiri and his organisation Awaken India Movement – have been posting and circulating defamatory content against the biopharma major.
Seeking an urgent relief, SII’s counsel Aspi Chenoy asked, “Can statements like mass murders, genocide, be called to persons who helped save million lives. There is a public interest angle to this. When you rely on some information and put such content out, they are misleading.”
Mr Chenoy said that after SII developed Covishield, there were medical trials and it got permission for emergency use and later permission for regular use. “Once the vaccine starts getting used, often incidents with side effects are reported. Hence, the Adverse Effects Following Immunisation (AEFI) committee was set up,” he added.
He added that till November 2022, there was a report of Thrombotic Effect (TTE) from Covishield. The same has been recorded in an affidavit before the Supreme Court. “It (affidavit) stated that the chances were 0.06%. There were other side effects, too. There were 26 such cases and 14 were minor.”
“It is our case that with 0.06% risk (of side effects), few minor incidents and 12 deaths would not justify them calling us mass murderers. The statements which call us mass murderers reeks of reckless malafide,” underlined Mr Chenoy.
Defendants’ advocate, Nilesh Ojha, said that they have data from research conducted by Harvard University which states that the vaccine is 98 times worse than Covid virus. There is research that if you get a vaccine, then you are more susceptible to getting Covid. It claimed that there was a large number of deaths which were unreported.
To which, Justice Riyaz Chagla said, “They took the vaccine voluntarily. They could have taken Covaxin. Why take Covishield?”
The HC will hear the matter next on Jan 16.
Covishield use permitted after trials
AEFI committee, too, formed
Just 26 cases of side effects reported
14 of them were minor
Remarks made with malafide intention
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