New Delhi never approved the company’s jab as the US drugmaker apparently wanted protection from adverse reaction lawsuits
The American drugmaker Pfizer tried to “bullying the Indian government” by granting him compensation from legal proceedings for his Covid-19 vaccine, said Minister of Electronics and Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar. The vaccine was ultimately never approved in India.
“Just to remind all Indians that Pfizer tried to bully the Indian government into agreeing to compensation terms,” Chandrasekhar tweeted on Friday. The Minister then accused three prominent opposition leaders of having “Pushing Foreign Vaccines During Covid.”
Chandrehaskar’s tweet featured video of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla being ambushed by a reporter during the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in the Swiss resort town of Davos this week. When asked when he knew his company’s vaccines “did not stop transmission” of the coronavirus, Bourla declined to respond.
Bourla claimed in 2021 that his product was “100% effective in preventing cases of Covid-19”, despite Pfizer never test whether or not that would stop the transmission. However, Pfizer was not required to prove whether its vaccine stopped transmission in order to gain emergency approval in the US and EU, while some studies have shown it reduced transmission of the first variants of Covid-19.
India has refused to grant any vaccine maker protection against claims related to vaccine side effects, with government sources arguing that accepting the indemnification clause would leave the government itself, rather than the manufacturer, liable in the event of prosecution. As a result, both Pfizer and Moderna refused to ship their mRNA injections to India.
India initially approved a locally made variant of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, another locally made vaccine called Covaxin, and the Russian product Sputnik V. Moderna was eventually approved, as were Johnson & Johnson and a number of other vaccines locally made.
Pfizer receives compensation in the US under a series of industry-friendly laws, and in the EU under confidential contracts signed by the pharmaceutical company and member states. The UK also granted Pfizer protection from legal action, changing the law to protect both the company and the healthcare staff administering the jab.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last week that they would investigate a potential link between Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine and strokes in the elderly, but insisted on the fact that he “is very unlikely” that there is a “true clinical risk”. Pfizer’s vaccine has also been linked to an increased risk of cardiac arrest, particularly in young men.