06:24 GMT20 June 2021
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    Granting indemnity will mean providing legal defence from any claims associated with the use of the foreign companies' COVID-19 vaccines in India. The demand for such exemptions comes at a time when India is facing a spike in coronavirus cases and the need for increased availability of imported vaccines to meet national requirements.

    The Serum Institute of India (SII), which is manufacturing Covishield - the Indian name for Oxford-AstraZeneca's vaccine, has sought indemnity against liabilities. 

    The Indian biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals company has also demanded that all vaccine makers, whether Indian or foreign, should be granted the same protection.

    The development comes a day after the Indian government leaned towards granting indemnity to foreign vaccine makers including Pfizer and Moderna as per media reports.

    The SII is also involved in trials for three new anti-COVID vaccines.

    According to reports, India is expected to grant indemnity to vaccine makers like Pfizer and Moderna if they seek the drug regulator's approval for emergency use authorisation (EUA).

    The Indian government, however, has not granted security against legal liabilities to any COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer.

    Meanwhile, Indian authorities have relaxed several norms for foreign vaccine manufacturers like waiving the requirement of testing every batch by the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL), Kasauli, and mandatory bridging trials. This clause was seen as a hurdle and caused delays in bringing overseas COVID-19 vaccines to the country.


    In the last 24 hours, India has reported 134,154 fresh COVID-19 cases and 2,887 related deaths, as per data from the federal Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu remains the largest contributor, with about 25,000 new infections. However, active cases have come down to around 1.7 million. 


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