Covid-19: Vaccine manufacturers granted immunity from liability

While large pharmaceutical companies protect themselves in advance against class action lawsuits based on vaccination and consequential damages and obtain legal immunity, the WHO supports the model of special funds to be set up nationally in order to pass on the costs of possible compensation payments to the taxpayer. But what about people’s willingness to be vaccinated – especially under these circumstances?

Skepticism seems to be high
The vaccination issue has already been discussed very loudly and controversially for weeks, which raises the question of who would actually volunteer to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 if a corresponding vaccine were to become available at some point.

Not only in the U.S. and on the African continent, but also in many parts of the rest of the world, confidence in a vaccine against the new coronavirus whipped through by politics, research and pharmaceutical companies with drumbeats and trumpets seems to be quite low.

What side effects would be associated with it? Could there be consequential damage such as impairment of organs? This is just the spearhead of the concerns and questions that have been circulating on the Internet and social media for weeks, which would discourage many people from getting vaccinated, based in part on a series of various polls on the subject.

Convincing people to vaccinate is the biggest challenge
Bill Gates summed it up most recently in his own words. The biggest hurdle that politicians, the media and corporations will face is the all-important question of whether they will succeed in convincing people to vaccinate against the new coronavirus.

It is becoming apparent that many people simply do not seem to have any confidence in those who vehemently advocate mass vaccination against the virus that threatens to paralyze our public life time and again. This is certainly not surprising.

Add to that the news – as it was over the weekend – that a senior executive of pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has confirmed that the company will not face legal action in the event of potential adverse events among vaccinated individuals as a result of a Covid 19 vaccination campaign, and it’s even easier to understand why skepticism is growing around the globe.

Vaccine and sequelae: immunity for pharmaceutical companies!
Large pharmaceutical companies seem to have been given a free pass by politicians to line their pockets without being held responsible in court for the possible consequences and side effects resulting from their products.

AstraZeneca is just one of 25 pharmaceutical companies worldwide that are now conducting their clinical trials on humans to test a covid vaccine. The fact that pharmaceutical giants like AstraZeneca seem to be doing extremely well financially in the current environment was shown by the group’s recently published figures for the 1st half of the year: the group’s profits added up to a whopping $12.6 billion in the last six months alone.

But despite this astronomical profit development, AstraZeneca refuses to be held legally responsible in the event of any consequential damage among those vaccinated as a result of a vaccination campaign. It is therefore clear from the outset that the company has been granted a kind of immunity, so that in the event of problems arising with a vaccination campaign carried out by the company, there could be no legal action among potentially injured parties – no matter how serious the possible consequential damage may be.

Does vaccine development really serve the “national interest”?
The law firms advising AstraZeneca would have insisted on including paragraphs in all those contracts with state governments that AstraZeneca would potentially supply with a vaccine against Covid-19, in order to exempt the group from possible class actions in the first place. Otherwise, AstraZeneca would not have pursued and/or stopped research on and development of a vaccine against Covid-19 in the first place.

Ruud Dobber, senior AstraZeneca board representative, literally told news agencyReuters in this regard:

“In all of our contractual agreements, we have stipulated the right to immunity. From the point of view of most countries, it is acceptable for them to take that risk themselves because the development of a vaccine is in their national interest. It’s a unique situation where we as a company simply can’t take that kind of risk – especially if a vaccine is going to result in side effects for years.”

Whether this is indeed a “national interest” or one that state governments alone are pursuing is, again, another matter. Dobber did not provide further details on which state governments his group has already contracted with. However, it can be assumed that a number of Western countries are among them.

WHO supports model of national special funds for vaccine victims
According to a high-ranking EU representative, political leaders and vaccine-developing companies are engaged in an ongoing battle to fix prices, payment terms and accountability. It goes without saying that no one seems willing to take responsibility if something goes wrong in the course of mass vaccination.

After all, in many places there is concern that such a vaccine might not be mature. The potential administration of an experimental vaccine to entire populations would therefore be associated with a very high risk.

Because it is almost predictable that such a large-scale vaccination program could result in adverse health effects or even death for a number of vaccinated individuals, some nations have already established special funds to provide financial compensation to those potentially affected or their remaining dependents. WHO supports this model of compensation potentially to be paid by a totality of taxpayers.

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One will have to deal in detail with the question whether – and under which circumstances – one would like to be vaccinated now, if there will be a vaccine against Covid-19 at some point – or not….

Christian Zürcher Send an email

From 1990 to 2005, Mr. Zürcher was a risk analyst in the institutional swiss banking sector - thereafter, he specialized exclusively in private trading of financial products. He is a certified real estate agent and studied economics. For more than thirty-five years, Mr. Zürcher has been intensively involved in the observation of financial markets, globalization, and the monetary system. Mr. Zürcher enjoys an excellent reputation as a political analyst and commentator related to finance.
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