“Adar Poonawalla has taken anticipatory bail in Covid vaccine case”: Serum Institute of India chief seeking protection against lawsuits leaves Twitterati incensed


Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla seeking government protection against possible lawsuits for their COVID-19 vaccines has left netizens incensed. Poonawalla’s extraordinary statement came days after a 40-year-old man from Chennai filed a lawsuit against his company claiming damages worth Rs. 5 crores.

Speaking at a virtual event organised by Carnegie India’s Global Technology on Friday, Poonawalla said that the government ought to ‘indemnify manufacturers, especially vaccine manufacturers, against all lawsuits.’ “In fact, COVAX and other countries have already started talking about that,” news agency PTI quoted the SII CEO as saying.

Poonawalla said that the US government had invoked a law indemnifying ‘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.’

His suggestions, however, did not go down well with netizens, who questioned his motives.

Last month, a man had sent a legal notice to Serum claiming compensation worth Rs 5 crore after he alleged that the vaccine had caused severe neurological side-effects on him. The 40-year-old man had taken Serum’s Covishield as part of a clinical trial to test the safety and immunogenicity of the Covid-19 vaccine in India. Poonawalla’s institute, according to Hindustan Times, had rejected the charges as ‘malicious and misconceived’ and threatened to sue the man in excess of Rs 100 crore.