The government is yet to firm up its view on providing indemnity to the two COVID-19 vaccine makers -- Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech International -- against claims and lawsuits for damages in case of side effects.
India’s drug regulator had recently approved two COVID-19 vaccines, Oxford's Covishield manufactured by SII in the country and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, for restricted emergency use.
As the approval came, both the vaccine makers had requested indemnity in case there are health complications after the vaccination. However, the government has not yet decided on the matter, reported Mint citing people familiar with the development.
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“We have discussed indemnity with several companies, including Serum and Bharat Biotech, and also the regulator and other stakeholders, but have not yet decided on the matter," a government official was quoted as saying.
The government is waiting for data on whether side effects are observed after the mass inoculation drive begins in the country, said the report citing an industry official.
Also read | Check legal options for vaccine recipients having severe side effects
An indemnity is a comprehensive form of insurance compensation for damages or loss. Here, it means a form of insurance for legal claims made by vaccine recipients if they have serious adverse events (SAEs) after receiving a COVID-19 shot, the report suggested.
India will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16 in what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the world's largest inoculation programme with priority to be given to nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers.
Also read | India's COVID-19 vaccine: Who'll get it, when and how - All you need to know
According to the COVID-19 Vaccine Operational Guidelines, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities based on evolving pandemic situation.
(With inputs from PTI)Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.