Plea in SC seeks expert panel to check possible side effects, risk of Covishield

Application also seeks compensation for those severely disabled or killed by potential side effects of Covid vaccine

Representative image
Representative image


A plea was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking the formation of a medical expert panel under the supervision of a retired SC judge to examine any possible side effects and risk factors of the Covishield vaccine.

The petitioner claimed that UK-headquartered pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has said its Covid-19 vaccine, which was manufactured under licence in India as Covishield, could cause low platelet counts and formation of blood clots in "very rare" cases.

The application, filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari, also sought a direction to the Centre to compensate those who are severely disabled or have died because of any side effects from the vaccine administered to them during the Covid pandemic.

It claimed AstraZeneca has accepted a link between the vaccine and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a medical condition characterised by an abnormally low platelet count and the formation of blood clots.

"After Covid-19, there has been an increase in the cases of death due to heart attack and sudden collapse of persons. There have been number of cases of heart attack even in youngsters. Now, after the document filed in a UK court by the developer of Covishield, we are compelled to think upon the risk and hazardous consequences of Covishield vaccine which have been administered to the citizens in a large number," the application said.

It said the government is required to take immediate steps for the sake of safety and health of citizens and the issue has to be looked at by the Centre on priority so that in future, no risks to the health and life of Indian citizens may crop up.

The application said AstraZeneca's vaccine formula was licensed to Pune-based vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII), and over 175 crore doses of Covishield have been administered in the country. It said a large number of Covishield doses were administered to citizens on the assurance of the government about its safety.

The application said in some countries like the UK, there is a "vaccine damage payment system" for people severely disabled by vaccination.

It has sought directions to constitute a medical expert panel comprising experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, headed by its director, and supervised by a retired SC judge to examine Covishield side effects and risk factors.

It has also sought a direction to the Centre to establish a "vaccine damage payment system" for citizens severely disabled as a result of the vaccination drive during Covid-19.

The application has been moved in a pending petition of 2021 filed by Tiwari seeking action against alleged fake vaccines.

AstraZeneca has admitted that in "very rare cases", its Covid vaccine, which is known as Vaxzevria in Europe and Covishield in India, can cause a blood clot-related side effect, but the causal link is unknown, according to court papers quoted in UK media.

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