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Remove indemnity from the manufacturers of covid-19 vaccines

Submitted by Alex Hicks on Monday 27th June 2022

Published on Monday 4th July 2022

Current status: Closed

Closed: Wednesday 18th January 2023

Signatures: 16,079

Relevant Departments

Tagged with

Caused ~ Compensation ~ Covid ~ Covid-19 ~ Covid-19 vaccine ~ Damaged ~ Individuals ~ Liability ~ Loss ~ People ~ Remove ~ Responsible ~ Scheme ~ Trials ~ vaccine

Petition Action

Remove indemnity from the manufacturers of covid-19 vaccines

Petition Details

Remove indemnity from the manufacturers of covid-19 vaccines, to allow individuals to pursue claims for compensation against them.

Additional Information

Vaccine manufactures are responsible for their products & safety trials, therefore should take full liability for any harm caused by them.

Manufacturers have profited substantially from these vaccines, therefore have sufficient funds to pay compensation claims.

Vaccine Damage Payments of £120k are insufficient for permanent disability or loss of a loved one. People who have suffered harm as a result of receiving a covid-19 vaccine should be able to seek compensation from the manufactures, and not just a publicly funded scheme.

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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Tuesday 10th January 2023

As indemnities for manufacturers do not generally prevent individuals from pursuing a legal claim for compensation, the Government would not consider it necessary to seek to remove any such indemnity.

The Government cannot comment on the terms on which COVID-19 vaccines were supplied as these are confidential.

Even though the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed at pace, at no point and at no stage of development has safety been bypassed. These vaccines have satisfied, in full, all the necessary requirements for safety, effectiveness and quality.

The speed of the vaccine rollout put the UK in a strong position. The UK was the first country in the world to grant a temporary authorisation for and deploy the Pfizer and Oxford / AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines. The UK was the first major European economy and first G20 member to vaccinate 50% of its population with at least one dose, and to provide boosters to 50% of the population.

The benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines rollout have been demonstrated in terms of public health and allowing the gradual and safe removal of restrictions on everyday life over the past eighteen months.

In general, indemnities given to manufacturers do not prevent individuals from pursuing a legal claim against a manufacturer for compensation. Rather, the indemnity determines who will pay the manufacturer’s losses arising from such a claim. The Government would therefore not consider that it is necessary to seek to remove any such indemnities given to manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines for the purpose of allowing individuals to pursue claims for compensation against them.

Although the details of indemnity schemes are commercially confidential, we understand that many governments entered into such arrangements to ensure ready access to COVID-19 vaccines.

In August 2021, amendments to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 were made to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Although the legislation provides partial immunity from civil liability for vaccines supplied under emergency authorisation, it preserves individuals’ right to sue the producers of the vaccine under Part 1 of the Consumer Protection Act 1987. This provides an important level of protection if the safety of the product is not such as people are generally entitled to expect, taking all circumstances into account, and if that defect causes personal injury.

The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) is a no-fault scheme that provides a one-off, tax-free payment of £120,000 to claimants who have been found, on the balance of probabilities, to have been seriously disabled as a result of a vaccine for a disease listed in the Vaccine Damage Payment Act 1979. The figure of £120,000 is a one-off lump-sum payment, not designed to cover lifetime costs for those impacted.

It is in addition to the Government support package to those with a disability or long-term health condition, including Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Attendance Allowance, and Personal Independence Payments.

A successful claim to VDPS does not stop an individual from bringing litigation against the vaccine manufacturer for damages as the VDPS is not a compensation scheme.

Department of Health and Social Care

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/619190)

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