Two persons died after first dose of Covishield due to severe adverse effects following immunization; Supreme Court issues notice Central Government  

Supreme Court: In a case alleging death of two young girls due to side-effect of Covishield, the Division Bench comprising Dinesh Maheshwari and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., issued notice to the respondents including Central Government and Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, and the Indian Council of Medical Research.  

The petitioner submitted that her 18-years-old daughter received first dose of Covishield Covid-19 vaccine on 29-05-2021 and lost her life on 19-06-2021. Similarly, 20-years-old daughter of petitioner 2 received the first dose of Covishield Covid-19 vaccine on 18-06-2021 and she lost her life on 10-07-2021. Both the petitioners alleged that after vaccination, the deceased girls suffered from severe Adverse Effects Following Immunization (AEFI).  

Though the petitioners had made representations to the authorities concerned, it had not been adequately replied and the only response from Senior Manager, Clinical Research and Pharmacovigilance Department, Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd., Pune was: 

  • “The Covid-19 infection was considered as the cause of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome;  
  • That Covishield does not contain SARSCoV-2 virus and cannot cause Covid-19 infection; and  
  • That vaccine is not known to cause Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome.” 

Hence, the petitioners have prayed for the issuance of a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order, or direction appointing an expert medical board, independent of the Government, to forthwith inquire into and investigate the deaths of the daughters of petitioners, and to share the report of the autopsy and investigation with the petitioners in a time-bound manner. Further, the petitioners have also prayed for a direction to the above-appointed expert medical board to prepare a protocol for early detection of and timely treatment for the AEFI due to the Covid-19 vaccine such as the ones that led to the deaths of the daughters of petitioners.  

The petitioners also sought for appropriate order directing the Respondents to grant significant monetary compensation to the petitioners, which will be donated to organizations working on social issues.  

The Court opined that though it is appropriate to relegate the petitioners to the appropriate regular remedies in such cases, because the matter might involve the determination of certain basic questions of fact so as to bring it within the four corners of a case of medical negligence, however, having regard to the post-mortem report filed with the additional documents, the submissions that the Government has not responded to the petitioners’ representations, and the nature of reliefs claimed, the Court issued notice to the respondents to file a reply.  

[Rachana Gangu v. Union of India, W.P. (C) No(s). 1220 of 2021, decided on 29-08-2022]  

Appearance: 

For Petitioner(s): Colin Gonsalves, Sr. Advocate, Hetvi Patel, Advocate, and Satya Mitra, AOR 

*Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.  

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Slug: Covishield-death-by-side-effect-serum-institute-supreme-court-issues-notice-legal-news-legal-updates-pandemic  

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