Side Effects from the COVID-19 Vaccine: Do I Have a Lawsuit? D.C. Vaccine Lawyer
Note: Cohen & Cohen does not handle these cases. We wanted to provide the information regardless.
The first COVID-19 case in the United States occurred in January of 2020; the first death occurred in early February of 2020. At the time of writing this, April 28, 2021, the US has had more 32 million cases and more than 570,000 deaths. However, in the same time period, Pfizer, Moderna, and other companies developed a vaccine that is effective against the virus. Pfizer and Moderna require two doses of the vaccine separated three and four weeks apart, respectively. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one dose.
The Pfizer vaccine has a 95% efficacy rate two weeks after the second dose. The Moderna vaccine has a 94.1% efficacy rate after the second dose. The Johnson & Johnson has a 72% efficacy rate in the United States.
As of April 27th, 2021, per the CDC, the United States has administered almost 250 million doses. Nearly 30% of the population has been fully vaccinated, and nearly 43% has received at least one dose. Importantly, more than 90% of the United States population greater than 65 years old has received at least one dose.
Many people have side mild side effects from the vaccine. On the arm where you got the shot, there is some pain, redness, and swelling. You might be tired, have chills, and/or have muscle pain. The second dose typically has more intense side effects, as your body is still building protection. The side effects should go away within a few days.
Johnson & Johnson
The J&J vaccine was briefly paused in the United States in recent weeks. There were reports of people developing a serious blood clot. The total number of people developing this side effect was six, out of almost seven million J&J vaccines administered. So, in more than 99.99% of people who receive this shot, the blood clot did not occur. On April 23rd, the CDC lifted the pause on the J&J vaccine. It has continued being administered.
Do I have a lawsuit if I have severe side effects from the vaccine?
In short, the answer is probably no.
For most vaccine lawsuits, The United States has a program called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. A person has to apply to qualify for compensation and meet a certain threshold of injury:
- The injury have must lasted more than six months after the vaccination OR
- The injury must have resulted in inpatient hospitalizations and surgical intervention, or death
While the VICP rules in favor of the plaintiff in 70% of cases, its liability is limited by the Public Readiness and Emergency and Preparedness Act (PREP Act). The PREP Act is meant to incentivize pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines in response to public health emergencies by limiting liability. They are excluded from the VICP. To bring a vaccine lawsuit developed in response to an emergency the claim must be brought under the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP).
The CICP provides broad immunity to Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, and others unless it is shown that there was willful misconduct. Vaccine injury compensation is available, but qualifying is strict. The claim filing deadline is within 1 year of vaccination. Compensation is limited to out-of-pocket medical bills, $50,000 per year in lost income, and a maximum death payout of $370,376 for survivors. There is no compensation for pain and suffering. Unlike the VICP, the CICP does not pay attorneys’ fees or expert witness fees, and does not hold hearings or allow for appeals.
In summary, it is unlikely that a person can successfully bring a lawsuit against a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer. The data shows that the vaccines are extremely low-risk, and are the best way we have to getting to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’ve been injured due to negligence or wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact Cohen & Cohen today at (202) 955-4529 for a free case evaluation.