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Even as the Delta variant of the coronavirus surges, many still hesitate to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. A recent poll by the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the main reason unvaccinated respondents chose to forego the vaccine was the fear of adverse effects. As of late August, the U.S. has administered 366 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. The potentially linked side effects of those vaccines include anaphylaxis, blood clots, myocarditis, and more. Regardless of the drug, there is a statistical probability that adverse effects may occur when administered to a large enough population. In such cases, legal action may be possible. If you’ve experienced an adverse reaction after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to know how current government mandates may influence the pursuit of a successful COVID vaccine lawsuit.
Understanding Vaccine Injury Lawsuit Programs
In 1988, Congress established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (informally known as “vaccine court”). The purpose of the program is to protect children who have been hurt by routine immunizations required for attendance at school. It covers vaccines against diseases like measles and polio, as well as the seasonal flu shot. Since its inception, it has paid out $8 billion to approximately 8,000 families. To receive compensation, affected parties had to provide enough evidence to support that their injury was a direct result of the vaccine. Funded by a $0.75 vaccine tax, all payouts include the attorney fee.
Since the COVID-19 vaccines were manufactured in response to a public health emergency, vaccine court does not cover any adverse effects from these vaccinations. Instead, COVID vaccine injuries are handled by the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP). The CICP was established to help handle illnesses that arise from drugs or vaccines related to a public health emergency. Compared to vaccine court, it is much more difficult to gather enough evidence for a successful claim, and the compensation does not cover attorney fees. The program provides compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and survivor death benefits. Since 2010, only 29 claims have been paid with an average payout of $200,000. The other 452 claims filed were denied.
Out of 366 million COVID-19 vaccines administered as of late August 2021, the following adverse reactions have been reported:
- 44 reports of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)
- 167 reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)
- 1,339 reports of myocarditis and pericarditis
To date, the CICP has yet to provide compensation for anything related to a COVID vaccine injury. In addition, since the COVID-19 virus is still relatively so new, there are few directly related legal precedents to draw upon in the pursuit of a successful COVID vaccine lawsuit.
Can You Sue a Vaccine Manufacturer?
While you can technically sue a vaccine manufacturer, it is extremely difficult to do so. The PREP Act protects pharmaceutical companies from being held liable for their vaccines. As a result, those who have suffered COVID-19 injuries would not be able to sue. The only exception is if the pharmaceutical company in question shows willful misconduct such as providing misleading information, or purposefully hiding any known adverse effects of the vaccine.
All approved COVID-19 vaccines are currently protected from lawsuits under the PREP Act until 2024. In the meantime, those who have an illness or injury and want to pursue a COVID-19 lawsuit should file a claim for compensation from the CICP. While it may be difficult to prove that any adverse effects occurring after vaccination are due to a coronavirus vaccine at this time, legislation may change in the future to meet the needs of affected U.S. citizens.
Hiring a Lawyer for a COVID Vaccine Lawsuit
Although the likelihood of experiencing a COVID vaccine injury may be small, a statistical probability remains that some vaccinated individuals will be left with long-term ailments and medical bills to pay. If you believe that a COVID-19 vaccine has affected your health and financial security, you may be entitled to compensation.
The attorneys at Avrek Law have more than 50 years of experience in the successful resolution of personal injury cases ranging from the routine to the cutting-edge. Together, our team has recovered more than $1 billion for clients in over 10,000 personal injury cases. Avrek Law serves the states of California, Arizona, and Nevada. Learn how our “no win, no fee” policy allows you to pursue a case at no cost of your own, and contact us to schedule a free consultation!