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Covid-19: How will you be compensated if things go south after vaccination?

Serum Institute of India's (SII) Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik V are the three vaccines which have been cleared by the Indian government.
Written by Prashasti Singh | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JUN 27, 2021 10:49 AM IST
As many as 32,17,60,077 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in India as of now.(HT file photo)

As India comes out of the deadly second wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) with fresh cases seeing a downward trend in the previous month, it is making a push for maximum vaccination coverage.

Serum Institute of India's (SII) Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik V are the three vaccines that have been cleared by the government. They have been used to inoculate as many as 32,17,60,077 people so far, according to the Union health ministry dashboard on Sunday.

Meanwhile, SII has started the production of the first batch of Novavax’s vaccine, which will be locally manufactured under the brand name Covovax, on Friday. “Excited to witness the first batch of Covovax (developed by @Novavax) being manufactured this week at our facility in Pune. The vaccine has great potential to protect our future generations below the age of 18. Trials are ongoing. Well done team @seruminstindia! (sic),” said SII CEO Adar Poonawalla in a Twitter post on Friday.

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As more and more people are getting vaccinated in anticipation of the third wave which is around the corner, according to experts, the question that arises is how do those people who face post-vaccination complications get compensated?

None of the three approved vaccine manufacturers has been provided indemnity by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). If anyone suffers injuries or dies during trials, the firms carrying them out will be made to pay compensation, the rules state. This means that the companies would not be held responsible and cannot be made to pay compensation if cases of deaths or reactions, after taking their products, surface.

According to the Webster dictionary, indemnity means "security, insurance or exemption from loss or damage, past or to come; immunity from penalty, or the punishment of past offenses; amnesty."

However, after the vaccines are approved for commercial use, those seeking compensation can lodge a complaint with the consumer forum or appeal with the high courts. DCGI can also take action against the firms if they find that components of the vaccine's registration certificate have been violated.

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