209 COVID vaccine damage claims in German courts: Report

World Saturday 01/July/2023 16:18 PM
By: DW
209 COVID vaccine damage claims in German courts: Report

Berlin: The German state could be held liable to pay out compensation to plaintiffs over coronavirus vaccines  if their claims are backed by courts, Germany's Welt am Sontag reported on Saturday.

"There are currently 209 cases of claims for damages against COVID-19 vaccine producers pending in courts," the Health Ministry told the paper.

State-provided compensation is part of vaccine procurement contracts that were signed by the European Commission during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this will not apply if unexpected side-effects are found to be caused by gross negligence or failure to comply with manufacturing standards.

In June, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) reaffirmed the benefit of approved COVID-19 vaccines, adding that the were estimated to have saved almost 20 million lives across the world in the first year of the pandemic.

It also said that there was a minor risk of heart inflammation issues following vaccination with Pfizer/BioNTech's jab.

What are the cases for damages?
In January, a regional court in Bavaria dismissed a woman's lawsuit against British firm AstraZeneca. The woman had suffered various health problems which she claimed were caused by the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Monday, the Rottweil Regional Court will hear the case of a man who claims to have suffered damage to his vision after having taken the BioNtech/Pfizer vaccine.

BioNTech has called the accusations baseless.

The state's position is putting plaintiffs at a disadvantage, their lawyers claim.

"The state is taking on a double role in the COVID-19 proceedings which is problematic," lawyer Joachim Cäsar-Preller, who is representing the man in the Rottweil Regional Court, was cited by Welt am Sonntag as saying.