The experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccines that were developed and launched to market in record time, generating record profits for their manufacturers as well as injuries for untold thousands, will be put to the test before the German courts.
The Mainz-based pharmaceutical company and Pfizer partner BioNtech is facing a series of lawsuits in its native Germany for suspected injuries and adverse events caused by its COVID-19 vaccine. The lawsuits were supposed to begin at the end of this month (April 2023) but have been pushed back to July 7. The two law firms bringing the suits, from Düsseldorf and Wiesbaden, are representing 185 claimants, and plan to extend the scope of the suits to include the three other main vaccine manufacturers (presumably in reference to Moderna, Janssen and AstraZeneca).
The experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccines that were developed and launched to market in record time, generating record profits for their manufacturers as well as injuries for untold thousands, will now be put to the test before the German courts. If successful, the class action suit may pave the way for similar suits in other parts of the world. If so, it is likely to be the national governments that bought the vaccines and made them de facto mandatory by making life unbearable for the unvaccinated, rather than the vaccine makers themselves, that will end up bearing the costs.
To its minimal credit, the German government, unlike most of its counterparts in Europe, is at least beginning to acknowledge some of the harms caused by COVID-19 vaccines. It has even coined a name for the phenomenon: post-vac syndrom.
The Tricky Task of Proving Causation
Anyone who suffers permanent health damage as a result of a recognized vaccination complication can apply for at least a modest pension from one of the state’s pension offices. For all other suspected vaccination complications, it is far more difficult to receive compensation. In early July, the first of the 185 claimants will finally have her day in court. She allegedly suffered heart damage as a direct result of vaccination, reports the Spanish daily ABC (translated by yours truly):
The woman, who according to her lawyer works in the medical profession, wants to remain anonymous. She alleges that she was forced to get vaccinated in order to keep her job and she blames (BioNtech) for having put a vaccine on the market whose side effects had not been sufficiently studied. The crux of the matter will be whether her lawyers can demonstrate causality, whether there is a direct connection between the vaccination and the damage, in addition to excluding and ruling out other possible causes.
A second female litigant complains of suffering from a herpes-associated illness, lung disease, menstrual disorders, nervous system dysfunction and vision problems, reports Der Tagesspiegel. A third woman experienced, among other things, severe muscle twitching after the vaccination and was bedridden for seven weeks.
BioNtech insists that “so far in none of the cases [it has] examined has a causal connection between the described health impairments and the vaccination with Comirnaty been proven.”
“We take our responsibility as a vaccine manufacturer very seriously,” carefully examining each case, said a company spokeswoman. BioNtech, like all COVID-19 vaccine makers, is essentially immune from liability for any harms its products may produce. It can also fall back on the correlation vs causality argument. “When evaluating the case,” said the spokeswoman, “we can rely solely on the medical facts to evaluate whether there is a causal relationship or not. Unfortunately, that is what is often missing.”
Germany’s Shifting Vaccine Landscape
When Pfizer-BioNtech’s experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccine hit the market, in December 2020, it was met with a mixture of relief, excitement and pride in Germany, the country where it was developed. That enthusiasm was not shared by all German citizens, however, with the result that by the autumn of 2021 Germany had somewhat lower vaccination rates than some of its Western European neighbours. The government’s response was to ramp up the coercive pressure on the unvaccinated.
Germany came closer than just about any Western country to enacting a universal COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Through its vaccine passport system, it systematically discriminated against millions of unvaccinated civilians, depriving them of access to basic government services, public buildings and even the ability to travel or work. Like neighboring Austria, it also experimented with targeted lockdowns of the unvaccinated.
In August 2022, by which time it was abundantly clear that the vaccines prevented neither systemic disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 or transmission of the virus and many EU countries, including even Austria, had softened or suspended their COVID-19 vaccine passport restrictions, Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach was talking about taking them to a whole new level. As I reported at the time, this included plans to repurpose the Corona-Warn-App into a color-coded system as a means of more easily corroborating people’s vaccination status.
The app’s different colors would confer different rights in the future. Those rights would apparently include the ability to access certain public places as well as the right not to wear a mask in hospitality venues. In the end, the plans came to nothing, perhaps due to the intensity of the public backlash. A few months later, the German government was threatening to cancel its vaccine deals as its stockpiles of unused vials kept rising, and Lauterbach found himself at the center of one of the biggest vaccine injury scandals to have emerged since the pandemic.
On numerous occasions Lauterbach had claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines were “without side effects,” even as the Paul-Ehrlic-Institute (PEI), Germany’s medical regulatory body and research institution for vaccines and biomedicines, was reporting growing numbers of vaccine injuries. By the summer of 2022, it had lodged 323,684 cases of vaccine side effects resulting from a total of 183 million single vaccine jabs: an average rate of 1.8 cases per 1,000 doses. Severe vaccine side effects were clocking in at an average of around 0.3 per 1,000.
That was a significant understatement, according to German health insurance firm BKK Vita. In a letter to PEI in late February 2022, the firm’s board warned of a dramatic under-reporting of the side effects of vaccinations based on the billing data of its health insurance division. According to that data, as many as 2.3% of vaccine recipients — an order of magnitude higher than PEI’s number — were suffering from post-vaccine side effects.
For their troubles the firm’s CEO Andreas Schöfbeck and board were dismissed without notice just days after the letter was sent. The firm quickly disassociated itself from Schöfbeck, whom it painted as an avid anti-vaxxer. From Tagesschau:
“It is not the first time that Schöfbeck has appeared with well-known opponents of vaccination. In January 2021, the then-head of the health insurance company at the time wrote the foreword to Clemens Arvay’s book “Corona Vaccines – Rescue or Risk”. In it he questioned whether there were “sufficient studies on the (the vaccine’s) efficacy and side effects” and whether it was justifiable “to vaccinate so many people without the benefit of long-term studies”
It is far from clear whose data — the PEI’s or BKK Vita’s — was closer to the truth, in part because of the paucity of high-powered studies into COVID-19 vaccine harms. One of the few such papers that does exist, by a team of respected researchers including Peter Doshi, an editor of the BMJ, Robert Kaplan, the Chief Science Officer for AHRQ, and Sander Greenland of UCLA, was published in June last year. One of its main findings was that the mRNA vaccines, combined, were associated with an absolute risk increase of serious adverse events of special interest of 12.5 per 10,000 — one in 800.
NC’s IM Doc described the study as a “fascinating piece of work” that deserves serious attention:
What they found is that more patients were suffering excess severe adverse events with both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines than were being saved from hospital admissions. You heard that correctly – more people had severe side effects than people being kept out of the hospital. The numbers were particularly tragic for Pfizer(-BioNtech). The authors absolutely admitted that this was the best they could do with the available numbers. BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES and BIG PHARMA HAVE REFUSED TO RELEASE DATASETS. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY TRAGIC IN ITS UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR. They ended the study with a plea to release the data and given their findings, the urgent need to break out the risk/benefit ratios for different demographics. ie do old people have a satisfactory risk profile while young people do not, etc etc etc. I will reiterate – none of these authors are slouches. They are in the top tier of folks in their fields. This has to be taken seriously.
Back in Germany, Lauterbach’s assertions that the vaccines did not cause any side effects had become so ridiculous that they were no longer tenable. In March, he made a spectacular U-turn, as Thomas Fazi reported at the time:
In a recent TV interview, he admitted that vaccine-induced injuries are a serious issue, and that his ministry was planning to launch a programme to investigate the negative consequences of Covid vaccination and improve care as soon as possible. Additionally, Lauterbach said that he hopes pharmaceutical companies will voluntarily help to compensate those harmed by the vaccines. “That’s because the profits have been exorbitant”, he said. Just a year ago he had said: “The pharmaceutical companies will not get rich with vaccines”.
The revenues of BioNtech alone — a company that probably would not exist without the hundreds of millions of euros of seed funding, subsidies and other investments provided by the German federal government — increased 190-fold between 2019 and 2021.
For the moment there are no signs of BioNtech, or any of the other pharma companies, voluntarily dipping into their vast profits to compensate those injured by the vaccines they created, not to mention the families who have lost loved ones. In Germany at least, the health ministry has begun to recognize vaccine injuries as a serious issue; in many other European countries, including the UK, the vaccine injured are met with a wall of silence.
Yet as more and more Germans lodge compensation claims for the injuries they have sustained, it is the state that will be ultimately liable for any vaccine-related damages. In the end, many will end up receiving nothing due to their inability to prove causality. As a recent BMJ paper covered for NC by KLG argues, this lack or “reciprocity” — i.e., the effective inability of anyone harmed by the vaccines to recover financial compensation — is one of a litany of reasons why COVID-19 vaccine mandates are both unethical and undesirable.