Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Serum Institute of India (SII), has said that the Government of India must protect Covid vaccine makers against lawsuits claiming adverse effects or reactions to the vaccine shots. He said that the Government must protect vaccine makers from liability. Poonawalla made the comments on Friday during a virtual panel discussion at Carnegie India’s Global Technology Summit.
“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,” said Adar Poonawalla. “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 (about vaccines),” 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 just fight lawsuits and explain to the media what is happening,” he stated.
According to Poonawalla, when “frivolous” claims are blown out of proportion, it affects the confidence of the general public as well and not just ‘anti-vaxxers’. Poonawalla’s comments comes days after a volunteer had sued SII seeking Rs. 5 crore in compensation, claiming that Covidshield had caused adverse neurological effects. The CEO of SII, however, rejected these claims. He said that their reputation was being “unfairly maligned” and has sent the volunteer a legal notice of its own.