The trial of the first lawsuits from people alleging health problems caused by the vaccines is expected soon, while the company biontech likely to pay the first indemnities.
Anyone who got sick after being vaccinated against it. coronavirus, thought the vaccine might be responsible, notes Deutsche Welle, citing a report by the German Agency. For a long time, such suspicions were dismissed out of hand. Now the potential effects of vaccines are taken seriously, including by German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, while lawsuits have been filed against some vaccine companies. The problem is multifaceted and complex. However, its essence lies in causality.
What are the legal proceedings about?
The first civil trial was originally scheduled for the end of April, but was postponed to July 7. The content of the action directed against the Biontech company includes claims for compensation for moral and physical damages. In addition, two major law firms are reportedly representing three figures in related lawsuits, with several vaccine companies as defendants.
For coronavirus vaccines the same liability rules apply as for other drugs. The company can be held responsible if, for example, there are manufacturing defects. The crux of the matter is causation: can the harm be causally attributed to vaccination?
What do the companies say?
The Biontech company highlights that “until now no causal relationship between the damage to health presented and vaccination can be demonstrated in any of the cases examined.” A company spokesperson told the German News Agency that “we take our responsibility as a vaccine manufacturer very seriously.” Biontech will carefully consider each case, provided sufficient documentation has been submitted. “In evaluating the case, we can rely solely on the medical data to assess whether or not a causal relationship exists. Unfortunately, such data is often lacking.”
What are the effects of vaccines?
The terms are often confused. On the one hand, there is the “vaccine reaction”. These are typical symptoms such as redness, swelling or pain at the injection site. Fever, headache, and pain in the extremities are also considered normal, as they are an expression of the desired reaction of the immune system to the vaccine.
The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), responsible for vaccine safety, considers a “vaccine complication” to be an adverse reaction that occurs after vaccination and that may be causally related to vaccination in the first place, and then Second, it goes beyond the symptoms of the reaction. . “Vaccine injury” in the strictest sense refers to “the economic and health consequences” of this complication.
“Serious side effects” are legally defined as effects of the vaccine “that are fatal or life-threatening, require hospitalization or prolonged hospitalization, result in permanent or serious disability, incapacitation, and congenital or birth defects.”
What effects are known?
The PEI lists the following serious complications of vaccination: heart disease myopericarditis, possible blood clots in the brain or elsewhere, facial paralysis, a type of muscle weakness called Guillain-Barré syndrome, and hearing loss. According to PEI data, they are all “rare” (one case per 1,000 to 10,000 vaccines) or “very rare” (less than one case per 10,000 vaccines).
According to the institute’s latest detailed report, there were 120 cases in which a “probable or possible causal relationship” was identified between a death and coronavirus vaccination.
How many suspected cases were recorded?
Since vaccination began, a total of 183,000,000 coronavirus vaccines have been applied, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The notification rate was 1.8 per 1,000 vaccine doses, while for suspected cases of serious adverse side effects and complications it was 0.3 notifications per 1,000 vaccine doses.
Time and time again, the media reports on dramatic incidents, such as the case of a former adolescent athlete who died after the second dose of vaccination and is now in a wheelchair. “However, according to current data, cases like this are so rare that they do not register as a statistical phenomenon,” Eric Sander, a vaccine researcher and head of the infectious diseases clinic at the Charité in Berlin, told Die Zeit Leif newspaper. and explained that if there had been a backlog of such incidents, this would have shown up in PEI data and, with over 13 billion vaccination doses worldwide, even more in international data. And that is not happening.
Are incidents being swept under the rug?
Opponents of coronavirus vaccines say yes. In 2022, for example, it was claimed that private doctors had perceived the side effects of vaccines 2.5 million times. This would cause problems in 1.5% of all coronavirus vaccines. With conventional vaccines prior to the use of mRNA, the corresponding figure was 0.3%.
The fact checkers concluded that different things were equated here and wrong conclusions were drawn. For example, harmless reactions to vaccines, which are common, and serious vaccine complications, which are very rare, were grouped together.
Have refunds been given so far?
Several hundred people have received pension rights. These are not compensation, but benefits from the competent state pension services. If the corresponding application is rejected, the applicant can appeal the decision in court. Here again, the question is whether the damage was caused causally by him. According to research by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, as of mid-March 2023, 6,600 claims for coronavirus vaccine damage pension benefits had been filed in 13 of the 16 federal states. Of these, 284 were accepted.
What is Post Vac?
The term Post-Vac refers to the effects after vaccination. In general, these are symptoms that can also appear after other infections. Professor Bernhard Schiffer, head of the outpatient practice at the University Hospital Marburg, explains that “it is impossible to draw a conclusion from the first examination whether the symptoms are really due to vaccination.” In addition, not only would the causal relationship have to be verified, but also the distinction between those who were simply vaccinated and those who, in addition to vaccination, had also contracted the coronavirus.
How does politics react?
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach promised that the state will take care of those who have suffered long-term damage from infection or vaccination against the coronavirus. Lauterbach announced in March on ZDF’s “heute journal” program that a program would be created to investigate the effects of Long-Covid and Post-Vac and improve patient care. The long-term effects of a vaccine need to be recognized more quickly. Commentators, however, saw this as a 180-degree turn by the minister, who has in the past emphasized the safety of coronavirus vaccines.