With the emergence of the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 global pandemic, vaccines and vaccine safety is garnering more attention than it has in a very long time. Many pharmaceutical investors lent support to the production of vaccines in a response to the increasing COVID-19 cases all over the world. Almost everywhere you look there’s this paradigm of vaccinated and unvaccinated. Whether you find yourself comfortable with vaccination or vaccine hesitant, you probably have asked a few questions. Are Johnson & Johnson vaccines safe? Will the inoculation work and keep me from contracting COVID? What if something goes wrong and I have an adverse reaction to the vaccine? These are all logical and valid questions to ask. So, let’s have a look through the lawmanaging legal lens.

Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine

Vaccines are generally a safe and effective way to prevent and lessen the effects of certain diseases. Of course, very few things in the world come with no risk guarantees, and vaccines are no different. Unfortunately, things don’t always go smoothly. Johnson & Johnson has experienced this with their COVID vaccine. It is more like a traditional vaccine. Unlike many of the others that are mRNA based, the J&J or Jansen contains a modified piece of virus that doesn’t cause COVID-19. 

Damages and VAERS

In early April of 2021, the FDA paused the one-shot dose after several women developed blood clots. By the end of April, Johnson & Johnson was once again available with a warning label attached. Many people have asked the question, “What do I do if I am the victim of an adverse effect as a result of taking the shot?” There are two levels of defense for anyone who has been negatively affected by a vaccination. VAERS or vaccine adverse effect reporting system is somewhat of an early reporting system according to the CDC. It is where people can document any adverse reactions they experience after getting a vaccine. Whether the reaction is minimal or extreme, VAERS documentation helps to ensure the safety of vaccines. The other line of defense is vaccine court.

Vaccine Court

Vaccine court is formally called VICP or the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Litigation against companies like Johnson & Johnson must go through the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Prior to 1988 anyone could file a claim against vaccine manufacturers in civil court. It was often lengthy and expensive. The burden of proof was often impossible and there were no limitations on what pharmaceutical companies could be sued for. Vaccine court was the answer to this problem. It’s two main goals are to offer compensation for legitimate vaccine injuries and to protect vaccine supplies. Only 16 vaccines are covered by VICP, and the COVID-19 vaccine is not one of them. This means that if you are injured by a vaccine not covered by VICP, you can civilly sue Johnson & Johnson. But only after filing a petition with VICP first.

Even though vaccines are safe lines of defense against viruses and toxins, people sometimes have adverse reactions to them and want to be compensated. Yes, you can sue a pharmaceutical company for damages, but there is a process that must be followed in order to do so. Your health and well-being is a serious matter and you should take it seriously. If you think you or someone you love has been injured by a vaccine, do not hesitate to ask questions and consult an attorney.