A notice has been issued today by the Madras High court to the centre and five other respondents including India’s drug regulatory body, ICMR, Serum Institute of India, AstraZeneca and Sri Ramachandra Higher education and Research, Chennai, asking their response on a writ petition. The petition filed by a Covishield’s trial volunteer has claimed to suffer from the severe adverse reaction after receiving the vaccine.
The court heard the matter through video conferencing and has listed it for the next hearing on March 26. Asif Riaz, the 41-year-old petitioner has demanded an interim injunction on the administration of Covishield to the public and a compensation of Rs 5 crore for the damages he incurred after undergoing the vaccine trial.
Riaz mentioned in the petition that days after taking the vaccine shot he suffered from acute neuro encephalopathy and his health depreciated after that, but the manufacturer dismissed it as a side-effect of the vaccine.
The man, a marketing consultant, told that he was diagnosed after multiple tests with acute neuro encephalopathy, which alters brain function and causes personality transformation, memory loss, and decreases the ability to reason or concentrate properly.
Riaz was given a vaccine dose on October 1 after conducting an antigen and antibody test for Covid-19, as per his submission in the petition, whose reports came negative.
However, on October 11, he woke up with a severe headache in the morning which later progressed to a confused mental state where he was not able to comprehend his surroundings or respond, coupled with extreme weakness.
He was admitted to the emergency ward of Sri Ramachandra Medical College Hospital later in the day, where he had received the vaccine. He was shifted to ICU the next day where he received treatment till October 20. He was then shifted to a normal ward the next day where he remained till October 26 before the discharge from the hospital.
“In the 16 days that I was in the hospital, almost all possible medical tests and investigations were done on me to connect my neurological setback to any of my earlier health condition, that is, to connect it to some factor other than the test vaccine that was administered on me on October 1st but they were unable to conclude or prove anything. The final discharge summary given to me on 26th October categorically shows that all the tests done on me were negative, confirming that the setback in my health was due to the test vaccine I was administered on 1st October 2020, and not because of any prior health condition,” he claimed in the petition.
Riaz, later, sent a legal notice to the Serum asking a compensation of Rs 5 crore against the severe adverse reaction he suffered after taking the vaccine shot. However, in return, SII threatened him with a Rs 100 crore defamation case.
It was mentioned by the petitioner that even after three months of experiencing the severe side effect, his health is still not stable, as he often experiences trembling of hands, fear, anxiety,trepidation, panic, mood swings, severe dent in self-confidence, and extreme problems in focusing on work.
Although, he claims that he had no history of neurological disorders or rheumatology issues till he underwent the vaccine trial.
Talking about the economic consequences, Riaz claimed that he lost all the projects he was working on post volunteering for the trial, which entails an annual earning of over USD 30,000.
Meanwhile, the Drug Controller General of India formed an independent committee to investigate the causal link of the petitioner’s health, when the case came into public scrutiny.
But the committee report found no connection between the adverse reaction Riaz suffered and the vaccine.
However, it was informed by Riaz that he was not given the opportunity to present his case before the committee.
The petitioner also cited news reports about the coverage of deaths which have followed after taking the Covishield vaccine which was rolled out in the inoculation drive on January 16. He declared that the vaccine is not safe and could produce severe adverse reactions among its beneficiaries.
On the hand, the centre has clarified so far that none of the deaths and severe adverse reactions following immunization have been attributed to the vaccines as yet.