Supreme Court to Hear PIL Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination

The Supreme Court of India is set to hear a PIL on the side effects connected with the COVID-19 vaccination produced jointly by British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and commercialized in this country as Covishield.

Though the date of hearing is yet to be decided, the Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, has taken notice of the issue, which also demands the creation of an expert panel investigation and government compensation for affected families.

Petitioner’s Plea

The petitioner in this plea requests the establishment of an expert panel to investigate the reported side effects of the vaccine, specifically thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), along with other potential risks. Additionally, the petitioner seeks oversight from a retired Supreme Court judge for this investigation.

Reason Behind This Concern

This concern arose after the company, AstraZeneca, the developer and pharmaceutical company, acknowledged that its AZD1222 vaccine, produced under license in India as Covishield, could lead to low platelet counts and blood clot formation in “very rare” instances. AstraZeneca acknowledged a link between the vaccine and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a condition marked by abnormally low platelet levels and blood clotting.

AstraZeneca is facing class-action lawsuits in the United Kingdom following a complaint by Jamie Scott, who alleges he sustained a lasting brain injury as a result of a blood clot created after being injected with the vaccine in April 2021.

The Supreme Court’s forthcoming hearing on Covishield’s side effects underscores growing concerns over vaccine safety. Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud’s attention to the matter reflects its gravity. As the plea seeks expert panel investigation and compensation, it highlights the need for thorough scrutiny and accountability. This case holds significance not just for India but globally, amidst ongoing discussions surrounding vaccine risks and the pursuit of justice for affected individuals.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon