Vaccine manufacturer BioNTech was presented with its first legal claim in its native country of Germany on Monday, more than two years after one of the world’s largest and quickest immunization campaigns. The claim asserted that certain recipients of BioNTech’s Covid vaccinations experienced ill effects as a result of receiving the vaccine.
The release of vaccines against Covid, which had been widely acclaimed as a lifesaver before to the outbreak of the terrible pandemic that began in the early 2020s, which forced border closures and lockdowns that kept millions of people in their homes, was met with widespread praise.
However, the shots, which had been developed at a breakneck speed and were given early permission for usage, are now the focus of legal procedures in numerous nations like France and Britain. The plaintiffs in these cases say that the vaccines were detrimental to their health.
A court in Hamburg, Germany, was getting ready to hear a case against BioNTech on Monday. BioNTech, along with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in the United States, developed the first mRNA vaccine known as Comirnaty.
However, the hearing had to be postponed because the attorneys for the claimant filed a last-minute challenge to the judge’s impartiality and asked for the case to be decided by a panel of judges rather than the individual judge.
According to the court’s statement, the plaintiff indicated in her claim that she suffered consequences including “pain in the upper body, swelling of the extremities, exhaustion, fatigue, and sleeping disorders” after taking the vaccine.
She is requesting compensation in the amount of 150,000 euros, which is equivalent to 162,000 dollars, as well as acknowledgement that the “defendant is bound to provide material damages,” according to the court.
Her attorney, Thomas Ulbrich, who is also defending another 250 persons in instances similar to this one, stated that his clients were “all healthy” prior to exhibiting symptoms that purportedly followed the administration of their injections.
He is under the impression that the medical records he is in possession of demonstrate a relationship between the symptoms his customers are experiencing and the immunizations they have received.
The proverbial “rocky and long road”
The European Medicines Agency (EMA), a regulatory body in the EU, has given BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine, a significant step forward in the field of research, conditional marketing authorization beginning on December 21, 2020.
Quickly after that, a similar authorization was granted to Moderna, which is another mRNA vaccine manufacturer.
Fears of contracting the disease were at an all-time high, so governments began placing pre-orders for the vaccines even while they were still in the development phase. Deployment of the vaccines occurred very quickly after regulatory authorities gave their clearance.
However, the emergence of a new generation of immunizations also sparked a wave of vaccine skeptics who questioned the efficacy of vaccinations.
The Paul Ehrlich Institute, which is responsible for regulating pharmaceuticals in Germany, said that out of 192 million vaccinations that were administered in the country, there were 338,857 probable occurrences of side effects, including 54,879 serious responses.
“the symptoms are very different, they vary from stroke to thrombosis to cardiac diseases,” said another German lawyer, Joachim Caesar-Preller, who represents 140 individuals making similar claims. “The symptoms are very different,” he said, “they vary from cardiac diseases to thrombosis.”
He is seeking damages of up to one million euros each case, plus interest, although he acknowledges that there is a “rocky and long road” ahead in the court battles.
– “This is not an isolated incident” –
When the medicine is used as prescribed, one of the most important questions for the courts to answer is whether or not the potential adverse effects go beyond “a justifiable level according to the findings of medical science.”
Anatol Dutta, a professor at Munich University, explained that in order for the consequences to be taken into consideration, they need to be of a serious enough kind.
A claimant using the alias Kathrin K., 45, believes that her symptoms meet the threshold for qualifying as severe.
She claimed that after receiving the vaccine, she experienced significant weight loss and had to go through a number of digestive procedures.
She shared her sentiments by stating, “I despise it when people tell me that I’m an isolated case.” “I’m not.”
In order for the courts to address the matter of causality, it is highly likely that they will need to seek the counsel of experts.
Claimants, in addition to pursuing compensation for lost income through the judicial system, may also appeal to the state for assistance.
As of the month of April, more than 8,000 applications of this kind had been made, and according to German media, approximately five percent of them have been successful so far.
According to statements made by BioNTech to AFP, the number of responsibility claims brought against the company is extremely low when compared to the total number of dosages the company has shipped all over the world, and the company stated that each claim had to be investigated on its own.
However, it added that “no causal relationship between (the) health impairments presented and vaccination with Comirnaty has been proven” in the instances that it had studied thus far. “Justified liability claims would of course be met by BioNTech,” the statement said.
An additional attorney, Anja Dornhoff, recommends to the clients she represents that they create a timeline of events and ask their medical providers to chronicle the progression of their symptoms.
“I hope that people who are diagnosed with post-vaccination syndromes can be taken seriously,” she stated.
© Agence France-Presse