- Public Health Agency of Canada. (2020, December 10). Government of Canada Announces PAN-CANADIAN Vaccine injury support program. Canada.ca. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2020/12/government-of-canada-announces-pan-canadian-vaccine-injury-support-program.html.
- Sotomayor. (2011, February 22). 562 U. s. ____ (2011). Legal Information Institute. https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/09-152.ZD.html.
- Thomson Reuters. (2020, July 30). AstraZeneca to be exempted from Coronavirus vaccine liability claims in most countries. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/astrazeneca-results-vaccine-liability-idUSL3N2F13L0.
Vaccine companies are shielded from liability and cannot be sued for adverse reactions caused by their vaccines.
In recognition of the vaccine hesitancy this may cause, on December 10th, 2020, the federal government of Canada announced it would launch a vaccine injury support program to provide no-fault compensation to anyone injured from a vaccine.
The program was finally launched on June 1st, 2021, and is designed to financially compensate people injured from any authorized vaccine, or dependents of those who have died after receiving a vaccination, while completely shielding pharmaceutical companies from any liability. Such a program has already existed in the province of Quebec as well as 24 countries, including the US.
This is an important step for enforcing vaccines in Canada, allowing individuals and families some financial security should they suffer permanent and serious injuries for doing something that the government deems important for society.
However, completely protecting pharmaceutical companies from any lawsuit related to vaccines can be seen as problematic. As once noted by Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, vaccine manufacturers have little competition and limited incentive to improve vaccines that already produce significant profit.
The law to protect vaccine manufacturers was intended to help humanity, and especially so during a time when vaccines are deployed under emergency use authorizations without years of testing. Nonetheless, it does raise ethical questions as to whether Covid vaccines should be made mandatory, especially for children since most of their infections are mild, and severe Covid-19 is extremely rare.
When explaining why vaccine manufacturers insist on being protected from future product liability claims, a senior executive of AstraZeneca noted that “This is a unique situation where we as a company simply cannot take the risk if in…four years the vaccine is showing side effects”.
I agree with the vaccine companies, I wouldn’t want to take the risk either.
Naturopath, Health Educator
Markito Fitness & Nutrition