With vaccines for COVID-19 (SARS CoV-2) rolling out, many people wonder about their safety and what they can do if they choose to get a vaccine and something goes wrong. A prevailing myth about vaccines is that they are beyond reproach, shielded from litigation by ‘vaccine courts’.
While Congress approved the establishment of the national Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, this act didn’t give carte blanche to vaccine manufacturers. It is still very much possible to sue for malpractice in the case of a vaccine injury, in fact, it’s easier than some other filings in the medical malpractice world.
Reasoning Behind Act
The human body is an intricate, delicate thing that functions differently for each and every person. It is impossible to predict everything that happens when a person interacts with a new environment or a new substance.
Though bodies behave differently, they are not completely unique. What works for the majority of people work for the majority of people. This is the underpinning of all safety regulation in the world of medicine.
Vaccines are an important tool for safeguarding populations against virulent diseases. Prior to the establishment of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), vaccine manufacturers were embroiled with multiple huge lawsuits.
One-by-one they shut down until only one manufacturer of the pertussis vaccine existed, and they were hanging on by a thread. Rather than lose access to the vaccine, they established a no-fault system of compensation.
The vaccine court is not without oversight, nor is it without detractors and above reform.
Why the Warnings?
Vaccines, unlike other drugs, do not skimp on their warnings and their findings. Any injury or problem a patient encounters after being vaccinated gets listed as a possible complication or a known problem. This includes items such as getting hit by cars, skydiving injuries, and food poisoning.
It is highly unlikely any of these issues were a direct result of the vaccine, but they get listed anyway in the interest of full disclosure.
Imagine if a restaurant had to abide by the same rules, listing anything negative that happened to a diner within a patronizing an establishment. There wouldn’t be a restaurant left in operation.
The role of the vaccine court is to take petitions of grievance and establish if there is a causal link between the vaccine and an individual injury.
Actions to Take
This process is faster that some other types of malpractice because the specialized court knows what to look for and who to approach to establish the facts.
When an injury is determined to be caused by the vaccine, an injured party receives compensation from the fund set aside. This helps families to move quickly in the event of an injury.
After an injury is established, a why is also established. In the case of a bad batch of vaccine or manufacturer error, fault is still up for grabs. It is possible to sue a manufacturer for making a faulty product if the product is faulty, which takes a different set of evidence to establish.
It is important for a society to engage in safeguards to protect the most vulnerable in the population. Vaccines are a boon to public health, and they are made better by scrutiny. The establishment of a vaccine courts does not deprive the public of seeking redress in the event of an injury.
If you’re injured and want to know how to proceed, contact us to learn more about your options. We’re here to help.