Experts have repeatedly warned that a fast-tracked coronavirus vaccine may endanger the safety of millions of people. However, President Trump has pushed for a vaccine to be approved quickly. Are these vaccines really receiving all of the required testings to ensure they are safe, or could these vaccines be dangerous to the public? And if they are dangerous, who is liable?
The accelerated pace of coronavirus vaccine trials has many public health experts concerned. There is a worry that vaccines will be approved with incomplete data and analysis about the effects they may have on humans. Scientists have noted that developing a vaccine in a year is unprecedented and note that a vaccine that is ineffective or unsafe will not be useful.
Among the top concerns is that fast-tracked vaccines will have unintended side effects that can be dangerous to patients. In a Phase I trial of a Moderna vaccine, 45 people experienced “medically adverse” effects. Some of these side effects can take time to appear, and if a drug is fast-tracked, we may not know of their existence until it is too late. In some cases, there are not enough test subjects to determine if there is an adverse side effect. Phase 3 trials typically involve 30,000 test subjects. However, experts note that at least 38,000 subjects are needed to find a one in 10,000 adverse event.
Who is Liable?
What happens to companies that make and market these vaccines if it is later determined that they are harmful to the public? Under normal circumstances, these companies could be liable for injuries in product liability claims. However, a law was passed this past spring called the PREP Act that stipulates that companies cannot be sued for “money damages in court” over injuries caused by medical countermeasures for COVID-19. These countermeasures include treatments, vaccines, and respiratory devices. While things may change as politics change, at this point, there may be little recourse for individuals injured by fast-tracked vaccines.
Contact a Product Liability Attorney
If you’ve been injured by a defective product, you should consult with an experienced product liability attorney. Gregg Goldfarb has been helping the victims of dangerous products for over 20 years. Contact us online or call us at 305-374-7000 to schedule a free consultation.