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After Pfizer, Moderna, Indian vaccine maker Serum Institute seeks indemnity: Report

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New Delhi, June 03: Indian vaccine maker, Serum Institute of India (SII), has sought indemnity protection for its Covishield vaccine against liabilities, news agency ANI reported citing sources.

The development comes a day after reports emerged that the central government is in favour of granting indemnity to Pfizer and Moderna.

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What is indemnity?

Indemnity is protection to vaccine-makers from legal proceedings, which means that they can't be sued even if the beneficiaries face serious adverse events after receiving a dose. If the indemnity is granted, the government will be liable to pay compensation to the affected people and not the company.

SII Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla has advocated for indemnity protection for vaccine manufacturers which would protect them from any lawsuits especially during the pandemic.

Vaccine manufacturers need to have protection against all lawsuits for their vaccines especially during a pandemic, Serum Institute of India (SII) Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla had said last year.

"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," Poonawalla said.

It is because when frivolous claims come up, and something is blown out of proportion in the media, skepticism sets in that definitely something can happen due to the vaccine and to dispel that, the government needs to step in to spread the right information, he added.

Serum had 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.

However, India has so far not given any manufacturer of a Covid-19 vaccine indemnity against the costs of compensation for any severe side effects.

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