Is There Legal Recourse For a (Rare) Severe COVID Vaccine Reaction?

Recorded May 19, 2021

While extremely rare, there have been a small number of cases where people had a severe reaction to certain COVID vaccines. Would these people have legal recourse against the pharmaceutical companies who made them? Attorney Ben Barry of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on the radio with WIZN to help explain.

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Joe: 106.7 WIZN, it’s the Cars, “Let’s Go,” heard Queen, “We will Rock You” and “We are the Champions” before that. Joe Vega taking you through your Wednesday Rock and Ride Home and I’m joined now by Ben Barry from Martin Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Ben.

Ben: Hello, Joe.

Joe: So I got my second dose. I think I had the Pfizer vaccine, the COVID vaccine. And I got my second dose on last Tuesday, so I got about another six days before I’m fully vaccinated. I know a lot of people I was talking to had their heart set on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Of course, that’s just the one shot and, of course, that got pulled from the market because some people, I guess, were developing some sort of severe reactions to it. And it got me thinking, let’s say you were one of those people that got the Johnson and Johnson…I know it’s very rare, but let’s say you were one of those people that got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and had a severe reaction, do you have any sort of legal recompense for that?

Ben: I would say, generally, unless you had very grave consequences as a result of the vaccine, I don’t think that you would have great success obtaining compensation. There is one act, the PREP Act, that would allow for some compensation for injuries or death, but generally speaking, you’re very limited, especially given the circumstances under which these vaccines were developed and the emergency use authorization. So recovery is very limited and you would have to, I presume, go through quite a significant process to establish your claim and then get compensation.

Joe: What is the…what’d you call it, the PROP Act? What is that?

Ben: It’s called the PREP Act, P-R-E-P.

Joe: PREP Act.

Ben: Yes, and that’s the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act.

Joe: And what is that?

Ben: That was passed in 2005, and it really gives the federal government quite significant powers to really shield drug companies from liability, meaning claims from other people when medicine is administered, or things are being administered during an emergency, exactly like the situation that we’re in right now with the corona virus pandemic.

Joe: Okay, I gotcha. So that’s interesting. So the government sort of had the foresight to see this one coming down the road. But in regards, back to the Johnson and Johnson thing, it is very rare for someone to have a negative reaction to it, but they were pretty severe, and I believe there were two fatalities. So let’s say those people, would their families have some sort of legal recompense?

Ben: Potentially.

Joe: Potentially. Okay, Ben, well, thanks for coming on. Always a pleasure to talk to you. Ben Barry from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Ben: Thank you, Joe.

Joe: Remember you can call Ben or any of the fine lawyers at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti at any time at 1-800-LAW-1010 or go online to Mel Allen’s taking over. He’s got music from Tom Petty and Yes next.

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