Adult Victims of Vaccine Damage Can Sue Manufacturers in the US

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Merck, the manufacturer of Zostavax, a vaccine for shingles, is being sued for injuries from the jab that include: contracting shingles, blindness in one eye, partial paralysis, brain damage, and death. There is a federal law that bars people from suing vaccine manufacturers, however, it applies only to vaccines recommended for children and pregnant women. The shingles vaccine is for adults.  Merck has asked for a change of venue in a search for a friendly court to throw out the cases. -GEG

Victims of vaccine damage can sue manufacturers in the US

Victims of vaccine damage can sue manufacturers in the US

It’s happening now…

Major media aren’t giving this story the coverage it deserves. I certainly am.

Short question: Can a person sue a US vaccine manufacturer?

Short answer: Under certain conditions, yes.

Note: I’m not framing this article as professional legal advice. I’m reporting what I’ve been able to dig up on a very explosive issue so far. I’ve communicated with two lawyers and a law professor. I’ve been pointed to an important passage on a federal web page.

Right now, lawyers and their clients are suing Merck, the manufacturer, for injuries incurred from Merck’s shingles vaccine, Zostavax.

Among the claimed injuries: contracting shingles; blindness in one eye; partial paralysis; brain damage; death.

One of the plaintiffs’ attorneys told me he has already filed two cases in California. Each case has 50 plaintiffs. He states he has 5000 clients waiting in the wings. There are other attorneys with other plaintiffs.

But wait. Isn’t there a federal law that bars people from suing vaccine manufacturers?

Isn’t that law the 1986 Childhood Vaccine Injury Act? Doesn’t it demand that people go to a special federal “vaccine tribunal/court” and plead for compensation from the government?

Aren’t vaccine manufacturers shielded from liability for causing injury?

Well, it turns out there are exceptions to the rule.

Adult vaccines are not part of the 1986 federal law.

The law shielding vaccine companies only applies to childhood vaccines.

The Merck shingles vaccine is only for adults.

The special federal “vaccine tribunal/court” is established as part of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). This is where parents who claim their children were injured by vaccines must go, to ask for compensation from the government—not from vaccine manufacturers.

But on a web page of the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, under “Health Resources and Services Administration,” we see “Frequently Asked Questions.” And we read this rather opaque statement:

“In order for a category of vaccines to be covered, the category of vaccines must be recommended for routine administration to children by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” [Note: On this clumsy FAQ web page, you have to click on “View Answer” under the following question to see it: “If a new vaccine product is licensed, what needs to occur before the vaccine will be covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)?”]

What does “covered” mean? It means “covered exclusively by the federal compensation program.” It means a parent who believes her child has been injured by a vaccine goes to the special federal “court.” The vaccine must be FOR CHILDREN. However, an adult seeking compensation for vaccine injury, FROM AN ADULT VACCCINE, would, with a lawyer, argue his case in ordinary state or federal court. That adult would sue the vaccine manufacturer.

This message from the federal government is clear. The ban against suing vaccine manufacturers only applies to vaccines recommended for children (and pregnant women). The ban does not apply to adult vaccines.

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Carolyn

Interesting article. I did not know adults could sue the manufacturer for adult vaccines. It will be interesting to see how Merck attempts to squiggle it’s way out of this one.