As India prepares its vaccination strategy, Modi warns of possible side effects

Written by Krishna N. Das

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned on Tuesday that any COVID-19 vaccine could lead to side effects in some people, as could popular drugs, and that the government would only act according to science when finalizing one. country.

Comments were awaited before the possible introduction of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine early next year in India, the country with the second most coronavirus infection in the world after the United States.

The question of who pays the claim for compensation for unexpected side effects has been a difficult point in supply negotiations between countries and pharmaceutical companies about potential vaccinations. Some richer countries have taken full or partial exemptions from companies ’liability for insuring shots.

Indian officials did not comment on who would be held accountable if any vaccination had serious unintended consequences. Brazil has said it will not relieve vaccine manufacturers of responsibility, but Mexico may share some of the burden with laboratories.

According to Modi, both speed and safety are equally important in introducing the vaccine, but once well-established scientific processes have determined the right path, India will follow suit.

“Even the drugs that have been popular for 20 years, used by hundreds of thousands of people, are leading to reactions in some, even today,” Modi said in a video conference with the prime ministers.

“It’s also possible with vaccines. Any decision about them should only be considered with scientific judgment. Whatever vaccine does this through certified processes around the world, we need to accept them and move on.”

Modi said it is not yet known which vaccine will be launched in India and at what cost, but urged states to work with the federal government to maintain distribution infrastructure, such as cold stores.

After the results of the third phase of the AstraZeneca vaccine were revealed on Monday, its Indian manufacturer, the Indian Serum Institute, said it would focus on supplying the domestic market for the first time in the coming months.

The other experimental vaccines tested in India are COVAXIN from the government and Bharat Biotch; The Russian Sputnik-V; Zydus Cadila ZyCoV-D and finally Baylor College of Medicine, developed by Biological E. Ltd, and Dynavax Technologies Corp.

India registered 37,975 new infections on Tuesday, for a total of 9.18 million. The number of deaths has increased by 480, the total number now standing at 134,218.

(Report by Krishna N. Das; edited by Alex Richardson)