The Legal Effects of Vaccination Side Effects

Posted by Andrew Walde.

Vaccinations having been given out in increasing rates as more and more individuals are receiving theirs for COVID-19, however as with any vaccine, there are potential side effects that are harming some patients. Several of these individuals are seeking compensation for these effects as, “Twenty-one people have filed claims with the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program for adverse reactions to Covid-19 shots…” (Schlesinger). As people search for this compensation, there has been little acceptance to their claims and any compensation is expected to be limited.
While there are programs set up to deal with compensating those adversely affected by vaccinations, the one for COVID-19 is not covered by many as it is a new vaccine that has not been approved for the use on children yet even. This means that it is more difficult to make claims for compensation for being adversely affected by the vaccine. Furthermore, the one that does cover it, The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, “rarely pays, rejecting more than 90% of claims filed, according to HHS and FOIA records” (Schlesinger). This again demonstrates why it will be difficult for those seeking compensation will find it difficult.

I believe the reason for this difficulty has to do with the principle of double effect. As the vaccine is made with good intention and a good end, there may be negative unintended consequences. So while there are possible negative consequences, the overall intention of the vaccine is to provide benefit to the patient. Because of this I do not believe that companies should be sued or have to pay large compensations as they are attempting to aid the public through their good intentions. However, I also know that the companies making the vaccine should still be held accountable to make sure the vaccine works without major side effects the vast majority of the time. So that if in the future there is found to be side effects greatly impacting large groups of individuals, the company could then face legal action as their product caused substantial harm that could have been avoided through more thorough testing.

Andrew is a mathmetical finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2023.