Legal Action by Vaccinated Individuals Postponed in Germany
Hamburg Court Delays Lawsuits Against Covid-19 Vaccine Makers
A hearing in Hamburg, Germany for lawsuits filed by people claiming to have suffered side effects from the Covid-19 vaccine was postponed on Monday, due to an appeal by plaintiffs. The case will now be analyzed by several magistrates before proceeding to trial.
A Complex Case
Vaccines have been created in record time to save lives during the Covid-19 pandemic, but some claim they have ended up harming their health. The hearing was expected to last several hours, but the trial’s start was postponed after the plaintiff’s lawyers challenged the impartiality of the judge and requested a panel of magistrates instead.
Expert Opinion Needed
Plaintiffs’ lawyers questioned the use of a single judge to preside over the trial and instead called for a panel of magistrates specialized in health issues. “Really expert” people would be necessary to analyze the complexities of the case, explained Marco Rogert, one of the lawyers. Another hearing will take place in the near future to decide the form of the trial.
Side Effects Reported by Vaccinated Individuals
Stroke and Thrombosis Among Reported Symptoms
In Germany, at least 250 plaintiffs, all in good health before vaccination, are seeking recognition of a causal link between vaccines and the development of medical conditions. Symptoms range from stroke to thrombosis and heart disease, according to Joachim Cäsar-Preller, a lawyer representing 140 clients.
A plaintiff reported suffering effects such as “pain in the upper part of the body, swelling of the extremities, exhaustion, fatigue, and sleep disturbances” after receiving the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. The plaintiff is seeking at least 150,000 euros in damages. “Disastrous for work” problems left the doctor unable to work the same number of hours as before, according to the plaintiff’s lawyer, Tobias Ulbrich.
The Road Ahead
More hearings are expected in the coming months. However, the medical community in Germany has acknowledged the existence of post-vaccine symptoms, and many hospitals have dedicated clinics for such cases. Administrative resources are also available for cases of complications with vaccination. Legal proceedings to establish a causal relationship with the vaccines will be a “long road full of traps,” acknowledged lawyer Cäsar-Preller.
Manufacturers’ liability can only be established if side effects exceed a “justifiable level to the best of the knowledge of medical science” and if the damage is “serious” enough to be taken into account, according to Professor Anatol Dutta, a law professor at the University of Munich.
Plaintiff Kathrin K., who lost “25 kilos in ten days” and had to undergo several bowel operations, believes her symptoms fall into the “serious” category. More than 8,000 lawsuits had been filed by mid-April, and 335 were accepted.
According to the European Medicines Agency, vaccines helped prevent some 20 million deaths. However, BioNtech, the laboratory that developed one of the main Covid-19 vaccines in partnership with Pfizer, explains that no causal relationship has been found so far between the health problems described and vaccination in the cases examined.
The innovative technology and the speed of Covid-19 vaccination’s approval due to the health emergency has generated skepticism and misinformation about its safety.
© 2023 AFP