A very small proportion of those vaccinated against corona suffer from side effects, sometimes even permanent damage. Medical lawyer Lutz Böttger knows what hurdles there are for those affected in court and what significance the Astrazeneca admission has.

Around 65 million people in Germany have been vaccinated against Covid-19. A very small proportion report severe, sometimes permanent damage. Some of them go to court – and are confronted with enormous hurdles.

“This applies to claims against both the vaccine manufacturer and the state,” explains medical lawyer Lutz Böttger in an interview with FOCUS online. “Both usually fail to prove causality,” says Böttger. This means proving that the damage can be proven to be caused by the vaccination. Böttger represents several clients in corresponding court proceedings. “The brief report often states that the damage is ‘not predominantly likely to be caused by the vaccination,'” says the lawyer. The lawsuit is thus dismissed.

Compensation for vaccine damage – there are two options:

A vaccine manufacturer is only liable if the overall side effects exceed the benefit of the drug – “i.e. they have a negative benefit-risk profile,” according to the lawyer. A big hurdle, because courts would usually rely on the approval process, in which drugs and vaccines have to withstand precisely such benefit-risk considerations.

The second prerequisite for liability would be, for example, if the medication’s package leaflet did not adequately point out possible consequential damage. “But this would require insight into the approval procedures in order to be able to compare them with the information in the package inserts,” says Böttger. You would first have to sue for publication or inspection.

Böttger’s conclusion: “In this respect, the chances of success are actually very, very low at the moment.”

In most cases, proof of causality would fail because there are no studies that suggest “a causal connection,” says Böttger. That could now change with the AstraZeneca admission.

The AstraZeneca admission: The British pharmaceutical giant initially told lawyers in May 2023 that it would not recognize that TTS could “generally” be triggered by the vaccine, according to “ The Telegraph .” However, in a new court document that has now become public, the pharmaceutical company admitted “that the AZ vaccine can cause TTS in very rare cases.”

The thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) describes severe, life-threatening and even fatal thrombosis with simultaneous thrombocytopenia (= reduced number of blood platelets).

What that means: “Acknowledging Astrazeneca certainly means progress for those affected, including in Germany,” said Böttger. “Astrazeneca would not have made a corresponding announcement if there were no corresponding studies.” The lawyer sums up: “It always depends on the individual case, but of course it increases the chance of a lawsuit – if those affected have been vaccinated with Astrazeneca and This exact side effect occurred.”

What the lawyer advises those affected: For those injured who have been vaccinated with the Astrazeneca vaccine, he believes it makes sense to check claims and, if necessary, assert them. “If there are side effects after vaccination with other vaccines, I still think the chances of success of a lawsuit are low.”

What many plaintiffs don’t know: Even if a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company like Astrazeneca is successful, it’s not the company that pays, but the state or taxpayer. After the rapid development of the vaccines, it was agreed during the vaccine procurement by the EU states to protect the manufacturers from lawsuits against vaccine damage. According to the law, compensation and legal costs in such cases are transferred to the EU member states.

According to a report by the European Court of Auditors, exceptions only apply if damage was caused “intentionally, through gross negligence or through non-compliance with good manufacturing practice applicable in the EU”.

In addition to civil proceedings in court, there is a second way to apply for compensation: directly through the state. This is about care services, not about compensation for pain and suffering or damages. Care includes, for example, pension payments depending on the severity of the health damage, medical treatment or survivors’ care.

The basic rule is: anyone who suffers vaccination damage as a result of a publicly recommended vaccination is entitled to compensation. This is expressly regulated in the Infection Protection Act. For differentiation:

This is how the application works: If there is vaccination damage, those affected can submit an “application for recognition of vaccination damage” and then an “application for care in accordance with the Federal Care Act” to the pension office of the respective federal state. Specifically, these are the following:

As with civil lawsuits, medical documents are requested from doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies. The office then decides whether there is a claim. If an application is rejected, those affected can go to a social court. Note: The health department can offer assistance in initiating the compensation process. RKI and PEI are not responsible.

These vaccine injuries have already been recognized: So far, myocarditis, sinus vein thrombosis and Guillain-Barré syndrome have mainly been recognized. Occasionally also deaths.

Amount of compensation payment: It is not possible to say in general terms how high a compensation payment is. The amount depends on the individual extent of the damage and its health and economic consequences. According to a report in “Welt am Sonntag”, those affected with a certain degree of damage are entitled to a basic lifelong pension of between 164 and 854 euros per month. If necessary, the state covers the treatment costs and pays compensation for professional injuries.

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