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Pfizer tried bullying India to accept indemnity clause for Covid vaccine, claims minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Pfizer tried bullying India to accept indemnity clause for Covid vaccine, claims minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar

The minister said that senior leaders in the Opposition pressurised the Narendra Modi-led government to procure foreign-made vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic rather than choosing the home-bred vaccines. 

During the first COVID wave in India, it was reported that the US-based pharma firm Pfizer had sought an indemnity bond, or legal protection, that will exempt it from legal claims During the first COVID wave in India, it was reported that the US-based pharma firm Pfizer had sought an indemnity bond, or legal protection, that will exempt it from legal claims

Union Minister of State for Electronics and Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday claimed that global pharma heavyweight Pfizer “tried to bully the Indian government into accepting an indemnity clause for supplying its mRNA COVID vaccine”. 

Chandrasekhar, while sharing a tweet of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla at Davos, Switzerland, said that senior leaders in the Opposition pressurised the Narendra Modi-led government to procure foreign-made vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic rather than choosing the home-bred vaccines. 

During the first COVID wave in India, it was reported that the US-based pharma firm Pfizer had sought an indemnity bond, or legal protection, that will exempt it from legal claims in case there are any adverse effects from the vaccine.  

Chandrasekhar claimed that Congress' Rahul Gandhi, P Chidamabaram, and Jairam Ramesh kept pushing that the government should consider administering foreign vaccines in India. 

Congress veteran Chidambaram tweeted on December 27, 2021: "People are surprised that only three vaccines have been made available in India: Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik Of the three, you can write off Sputnik because only a small quantity was imported in the initial days."

Earlier, Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, tried to evade a series of tough questions about the efficacy of its Covid vaccine on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, an ANI report stated. 

A few journalists reportedly asked Pfizer CEO Bourla why the manufacturer hid the fact that its vaccine did not stop transmission of the virus. Evading the questions, Bourla said: "Thank you very much" and "Have a nice day". 

In the tweet, the journalist can be heard saying: "You (Pfizer) said it was 100 per cent effective, then 90 per cent, then 80 per cent, then 70 per cent, but we now know that the vaccines do not stop transmission. Why do you keep that secret?" 

Successful vaccination drive 

India recently completed two years of its vaccination drive, under which over 220.16 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the two years since its launch. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted that India’s feat was the "world's largest and most successful vaccination drive." He saluted the efforts of doctors and other healthcare workers on the front line who made this achievement possible. 

Vaccination of all Indians aged over 45 began on April 1, 2021. The government then decided to expand the ambit of the inoculation drive by allowing everyone above 18 to be vaccinated from May 1, 2021. Till January 16, total vaccinations were at 2,20,17,06,017, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's website. India initially approved the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine, which was manufactured under license by Serum Institute of India under the trade name Covishield, and Covaxin, developed locally by Bharat Biotech. 

Published on: Jan 20, 2023, 3:09 PM IST
Posted by: Basudha Das, Jan 20, 2023, 2:56 PM IST