You Can’t Sue Pfizer or Moderna if You Have Severe Vaccine Side Effects
Posted in Consumer Protection, In the news on December 22, 2020
If you experience severe side effects after getting a Covid vaccine, there is basically no one to hold responsible in a U.S. court of law.
According to CNBC, the federal government—through the PREP Act—has granted companies like Pfizer and Moderna immunity from liability if something unintentionally goes wrong with their coronavirus vaccines.
You also can’t sue the Food and Drug Administration for authorizing a vaccine for emergency use, nor can you hold your employer accountable if they require inoculation as a condition of employment.
“Requiring a vaccine is a health and safety work rule, and employers can do that,” said Dorit Reiss, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law. There are a few notable exceptions—if a workforce is unionized, the collective bargaining agreement may require negotiating with the union before mandating a vaccine.
Congress created a fund specifically to help cover lost wages and out-of-pocket medical expenses for people who have been irreparably harmed by a “covered countermeasure,” such as a vaccine. Unfortunately, it is hard to use and rarely pays. Attorneys say it has compensated less than six percent of the claims filed in the last 10 years.
“People who are harmed by a Covid vaccine deserve to be compensated fast and generously,” said Reiss. She believes the best fix would be to change the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s rulebook to add Covid vaccines to its list of covered inoculations. “That will require legislative change. I hope that legislative change happens.”