Serum Institute Files Rs 100 Cr Defamation Suit Against 40-Yr Old Vaccine Volunteer For False Claims

Pune-based pharma giant Serum Institute of India (SII) which is working round the clock to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine and gave a detailed lowdown to PM Narendra Modi on the current status on Saturday,  has filed a Rs 100-crore defamation suit against a Chennai-based volunteer who took part in the coronavirus vaccine ‘Covishield’ trial.

The 40-year-old Chennai-based man who participated in the vaccine trials has claimed that he is suffering from neurological and psychological issues as a result of taking the dose.

Reacting to the allegations, Serum Institute has refuted all claims and said it would seek damages of Rs 100 crore for “malicious and misconceived allegations”. The company has also filed a criminal case against the participant and he is likely to receive the notice by Monday.

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In a statement, Serum Institute has said that while they sympathise with the volunteer’s present medical conditions, there is no correlation with the vaccine trial and his medical condition.

“The allegations in the notice are malicious and misconceived. 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 statement read.

“The claim is malicious 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,” the statement added.

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The volunteer who was administered the dose at Chennai’s Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research during the third trial of Covishield on October 1 has said in his legal notice (filed on November 21) that he began to experience severe headaches, total behavioural change and irritation towards light and sound. Subsequently, he could not recognise or speak to anyone. Thus he has claimed ₹ 5 crore as compensation for “a serious adverse event after being administered the under-trial vaccine”.

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