New Delhi: Hours after a Chennai-based volunteer served a Rs 5 crore compensatory legal notice to the Serum Institute of India (SII) against the neurological complications he claimed to have developed after being administered a test dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca ‘Covishield’ vaccine for coronavirus, the Pune-based pharma giant countered with a demand of Rs 100 crore as damages to its reputation, terming his claims “malicious and misconceived in nature”. Also Read - 2 TMC MLAs Jump Queue, Take COVID Vaccine Out of Turn in West Bengal
The SII claimed that “there is absolutely no correlation with the vaccine trial and the medical condition of the volunteer”. Also Read - 1,91,181 Inoculated: India Completes Day 1 of COVID-19 Vaccination Drive, Health Minister Calls it 'Sanjeevani'
“While the Serum Institute of India is sympathetic to the volunteer’s medical condition, there is absolutely no correlation with the vaccine trial and the medical condition of the volunteer. The volunteer is falsely laying the blame for his medical problems on the Covid vaccine trial,” the SII said in a statement. Also Read - Is Covaxin Safe? Plea in Bombay HC Seeks Info on Safety, Efficacy of Bharat Biotech COVID-19 Vaccine
“The allegations in the notice are malicious and misconceived… because the volunteer was specifically informed by the medical team that the complications he suffered were independent of the vaccine trial he underwent. In spite of specifically being made aware of the same, he still chose to go public and malign the reputation of the company,” it stated.
“The Serum Institute of India will seek damages in excess of 100 crores for the same and will defend such malicious claims,” the SII went on to warn the volunteer.
The 40-year-old volunteer, who works as a business consultant, had, in the legal notice, stated that he “must be compensated, in the least, for all the sufferings that he and his family have undergone” because the candidate vaccine was not safe.
He also sought to cancel the approval for its testing, ‘manufacture and distribution’, failing which he said he would take legal action against the institute.
The participant has been diagnosed with acute neuro encephalopathy, which he alleged was a side-effect of the ‘Covishield’ shots he took on October 1.
Along with the SII, a legal notice was also served to the Indian Council of Medical Research and Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research – other avenues involved in the development and production of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
(With IANS inputs)