'Not liable to compensate for deaths due to Covid vaccine,' Centre tells SC

The affidavit was filed in response to a petition by the parents of two girls, aged 19 and 20, who died allegedly due to adverse effects of Covishield vaccine.

Published: 29th November 2022 09:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th November 2022 09:19 PM   |  A+A-

Family members look on during cremation of a person who died of COVID-19 at the Seemapuri Cremation Grounds, in New Delhi. (Photo | PTI)

Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the government cannot be held liable for adverse effects due to the administration of vaccine against Covid-19 and compensation for death induced due to vaccine cannot be sought by filing a suit in court. 

The affidavit filed in the apex court by the Centre assumes significance in view of the fact that the government has been zealously pursuing the Covid-19 vaccination programme to fight the pandemic and, as per latest reports, over 219 crore doses have been administered.

The affidavit was filed in response to a petition by the parents of two girls who died allegedly due to adverse effects of Covishield vaccine. The daughters of the petitioners were aged 19 and 20 years.

A health worker holds up a Covishield vial. (File Photo | EPS)

The Centre claimed vaccines manufactured by third parties had successfully undergone regulatory review, and holding the state directly liable to provide compensation may not be legally sustainable.

“If a person suffers physical injury or death due to an AEFI (Adverse Events Following Immunization), appropriate remedies in law are open to the vaccine beneficiary or their family including approaching civil courts for a claim of damages/compensation for negligence, malfeasance or  misfeasance. Such claims may be determined on a case-to-case basis in an appropriate forum. There is no material to suggest how the State can be fastened with strict liability for the tragic,” the affidavit states. 

It has also been stated in the affidavit that vaccination of eligible population under the National Covid-19 Vaccination Program is 'voluntary.' 

It further is added, “The Operational Guidelines issued by the Central Government to all States/UTs clearly state that vaccination is voluntary. The concept of informed. consent is inapplicable to the voluntary use of a drug such as a vaccine. While the Government of India strongly encourages all eligible persons to undertake vaccination in public interest, there is no legal compulsion for the same.”

“AEFI investigation and causality assessment process is a completely transparent process. AEFIs are thoroughly examined and results are made publicly available as soon as possible. existing mechanism for monitoring, investigation and analysis of AEFIs is adequate, effective and transparent,” the affidavit states. 

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