3 February 2023
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The health ministry has told the Supreme Court that making the government compensate for deaths due to adverse events after Covid-19 immunisation is “not legally sustainable”.

The ministry, in an affidavit filed in response to a petition seeking compensation for immunisation-related death, said that it has never forced any citizen to take vaccines. It added that the exercise was voluntary.

The affidavit added that compensation can only be given by a manufacturer when the vaccines are being tested in clinical trials. People getting immunised after the market authorisation have to seek compensation individually in civil courts, the government said.

India rolled out its adult vaccination programme against Covid-19 in January 2021, a year after the pandemic broke out globally. Till November 19, more than 219 crore doses have been administered across the country. There have been 92,114 cases of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI), or side effects to vaccines. Of these, 2,782 were serious and severe in nature. The government has maintained that not all of them are linked to vaccination.

In October 2021, Hyderabad-based Rachana Gangu and Coimbatore-based Venugopalan Govindan filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court demanding significant monetary compensation following their daughters’ deaths.

Gangu’s daughter Rithaika Omtri died in June 2021 in Hyderabad within…

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Abdul Gh Lone