New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest vaccine manufacturer who is manufacturing Covishield vaccine used in India, has sought indemnity from liabilities from the government of India. The demand comes after Pfizer and Moderna, both American pharmaceutical companies, asked for legal protection from the Centre in order to aid the vaccine process in India.

"Not just Serum Institute of India (SII), all the vaccine companies should get indemnity protection against liabilities if foreign companies are granted the same," sources told the news agency ANI. "Serum is hoping that rules should be the same for everyone," they added.

Earlier, Serum Institue of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla had sought indemnity to ensure a smooth vaccination drive after the company was served a Rs 5 crore legal notice in November 2020. The complainant had alleged that he suffered severe neurological side effects after participating in Covishield trials.

An indemnity is a comprehensive form of insurance compensation for damages or loss. When the term indemnity is used in the legal sense, it may also refer to an exemption from liability for damages. It is a contractual agreement between two parties. In this arrangement, one party agrees to pay for potential losses or damages caused by another party.

In the case of vaccine manufacturers and the Centre, indemnity will protect the former in case of any adverse side effects on the vaccine beneficiaries. If the indemnity is granted, the government will be liable to pay compensation to the affected people and not the company.

So far, the government has not given any manufacturer indemnity or protection against legal action for any severe side effects, which is a key demand put forth by Pfizer and Moderna. As per the sources inside Health Ministry, there are no issues regarding granting indemnity to vaccine manufacturers since other countries have also done the same.

Pfizer, which is ready to offer 5 crore doses to India between July and October, was in talks with the government regarding indemnity. The company has indemnity in countries like the US where it cannot be sued in case of any adverse effects.

Meanwhile, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) on June 2 said that foreign vaccines approved by particular countries and the WHO for emergency use won't require bridging trials in India.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan