By Cathy Jameson
We’ve been told that a severe adverse event has occurred during AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial. Not much has been shared yet about what the transverse-myelitis injury entails except that the trial has been halted and that an investigation is underway. You won’t find that kind of quick response when an individual reacts negatively to a vaccine that's already on the market. In fact, it won’t make the sort of news that AstraZeneca is getting at all. People are lucky if their doctor believes them let alone sees them write a press release about it.
When vaccine injuries happen with FDA-approved, liability-free vaccines, Americans are out of luck. That’s because:
- vaccines come with no warranty
- consumers have the right to get vaccines, but they have no recourse when a vaccine fails or causes injury or death
- documented side effects and adverse events, including death, are listed on package inserts of vaccines produced, sold, and administered in the United States, but
- pharmaceutical companies, and those who administer their products, aren’t held legally responsible for vaccine products or what happens after vaccines have been administered, and because
- pharmaceutical companies are the priority, never the consumers.
Consumers may file a claim. They may do that anytime they suspect an injury and if they can prove that one of the following events has happened.
Further explanation of the Vaccine Injury Table can be found on the HRSA.gov website. Having that information prior to choosing to vaccinate is important. Even so, the federal government does not assure their citizens that they will receive any compensation for adverse events, no matter how severe.
It should be noted that a COVID vaccine is not yet listed on the Vaccine Injury Table. When one is developed and approved by the FDA, it may fall under the final listing found on page 4, "XVII. Any new vaccine recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for routine administration to children, after publication by the Secretary of a notice of coverage." Time will tell if it will be included. [Note: Table injuries can be changed as is evident on this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking document. The most recent call for review is currently underway with a comment period ending January 12, 2021.]
At least AstraZeneca knew to put the brakes on their studies. “This is not anything really unexpected…” Dr. Atlas also said that this isn't something to be alarmed about and that this is exactly why we are doing the trials in the first place. "People should be assured by this," he said. It may look like the public’s health is top priority, but it really isn't. I don’t think it can be when billions of dollars are being made and when some of the public will be forced to take a rushed vaccine they do not want, need, or trust.
Pharmaceutical companies understand the hesitancy and the significant concerns people have communicated about a COVID-19 vaccine. Maybe that’s why nine companies took a pledge stating that they’d “stand with science” and would follow "high ethical standards and sound scientific principles…" Most businesses don’t need to make pledges like that because being honest and standing behind a product is naturally a best practice. For those companies to say they’ll do the right thing is a nice gesture. But I doubt their sincerity.
That’s because pledge or no pledge, the Act of 1986 shields pharmaceutical companies, including the other ones (HERE) who did not make a pledge. For decades, the law has been on their side. This added COVID-specific protection will also only help them.
Imagine if the millions of people who may eventually receive any one of the future COVID-19 vaccines had a fraction of the protection companies have already been guaranteed. That product protection is a sure thing. So are the huge payouts that have already happened.
Focusing on profits while being allowed to skip over vital parts of the process is bad business. Making fast deals while skirting long-standing industry standards, these COVID-19 vaccines are a wild card. I’d seriously be a fool to want to get one.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.