New Delhi: The Chief Executive Officer of Serum Institute of India (SII) Adar Poonawalla expressed his concerns about lawsuits and claims filed against vaccine makers. He urged the government to protect vaccine manufacturers against all lawsuits especially during a pandemic. 

While addressing an online panel on the challenges of developing a COVID-19 vaccine at the Carnegie India’s Global Technology Summit on Friday, Poonawalla said the vaccine makers are going to propose this to the government. 

“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 was quoted as saying by PTI.

Further, he alleged that when frivolous claims come up, and it is blown out of proportion, skepticism creeps in and that hampers the chances of rolling out the said vaccine. To dispel the rumours, the government needs to step in to spread the right information.

“..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 fight lawsuits and explain to the media what is happening,” Poonawalla said.

Earlier, speaking about the logistics of the vaccine after it is granted approval, Dr. Satish D. Ravetkar, Executive Director of Serum Institute of India said, “The funding for such large scale distribution would be huge, and India should be ready with a funding of around Rs 80,000 crore for next one year for distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.”

Three vaccine candidates – Serum Institute-Oxford`s Covishield, Bharat Biotech`s Covaxin and Pfizer vaccine are in the fray for emergency use authorization. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has sought additional data from the Serum Institute as well as Bharat Biotech to get approval.

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