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Entitlement to Compensation for Side Effects from COVID-19 Vaccinations

Covid-19 under microscope
According to an HPRA safety update in May 2022, a total of 20,182 reports of suspected side effects to COVID-19 vaccinations were reported to the agency, out of 8,091,610 that were administered in total (correct, to the date of that document). It’s important to note that all vaccines have side effects, although not everyone will experience them. In the vast majority of cases, the side effects are mild to moderate in nature, however, in rare instances they can be severe.

Here at McCarthy + Co, we have assisted multiple individuals who have experienced problems in relation to the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. They fall into two different categories. The first are people who have suffered injuries due to the failure to correctly site the needle in the deltoid muscle resulting in damage to the surrounding anatomy, usually in the form of a rotator cuff tear or bursitis in the subacromial space.

The second category are people who would fall under the HPRA’s safety update in terms of side effects following a correctly administered injection. Rare side effects of this nature include the development of health issues such as pericarditis and Graves’ disease.

In terms of compensation, the first category is compensable under the general principles of negligence and further information on this can be found on this on our vaccine injury compensation guide page here. However, as things currently stand, the second category does not have any entitlement to compensation. However, with the two-year anniversary of the date upon which the vaccine was administered fast approaching for many of those who have suffered side effects, we are encouraging affected individuals to contact our legal team for further guidance. The time limits for personal injury cases in Ireland could result in some individuals soon becoming statute barred if they do not issue some form of precautionary proceedings.

Vaccine Injury Compensation Schemes

Many European countries have introduced vaccine injury compensation schemes, including provisions for those who have sustained serious health complications following a COVID-19 vaccination. However, to date, the Irish government have not yet delivered such as scheme. The situation is similar in the UK, as highlighted in a recent article in The Telegraph, documenting “inadequate funds for families” seeking legal action against AstraZeneca following complications relating to the Covid vaccine.

In September of last year, The Irish Times reported that “significant work” is still required to establish a vaccination compensation scheme. This is despite a report concerning the handling of medical negligence claims in December 2020, produced by an expert group chaired by Mr Justice Charles Meenan, that recommended the introduction of an ex-gratia scheme for people who suffered an injury arising from a COVID-19 vaccination “as a matter of urgency”.

The expert group report, available to download here, states in relation to vaccines that “there is a strong moral argument that the State, which actively encourages vaccination, should accept responsibility for those who suffer harm as a result. There are also pragmatic reasons to support the establishment of a compensation scheme, namely: to maintain vaccination uptake rates, inspire confidence amongst the population and to maintain the supply of vaccines from manufacturers who may be concerned about liability and costs”.

Have you or a family member experienced side effects following the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you have sustained serious complications following the administration of a vaccine, you should take steps to issue precautionary proceedings. The team here at McCarthy + Co would be glad to offer further guidance you may be seeking in relation to your specific case. Call us on 1800 390 555 and an experienced member of staff will discuss your situation and potential next steps. You can also email info@mccarthy.ie and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels. John's practice involves a diverse range of cases, from personal injury and wrongful death to property damage, defective products, professional negligence and judicial reviews.

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