The authors of this Perspective examine liability and compensation issues as they relate to the future distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. They provide a brief history of how the U.S. government has addressed liability and compensation concerns in previous public health threats — specifically by providing liability immunity to manufacturers and distributors of vaccines should lawsuits arise as the result of serious side effects, as well as by setting up compensation systems that provide some, but not all, benefits of traditional tort litigation. That the COVID-19 pandemic is global complicates issues of liability outside the United States because an act of Congress cannot determine legal procedure in other countries. The authors also consider the possibility that volunteers for vaccination campaigns might be hesitant and suggest consideration of appropriate compensation for any adverse effects.
Pace, Nicholas M. and Lloyd Dixon, COVID-19 Vaccinations: Liability and Compensation Considerations Critical for a Successful Campaign. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PEA761-1.html.
Pace, Nicholas M. and Lloyd Dixon, COVID-19 Vaccinations: Liability and Compensation Considerations Critical for a Successful Campaign, RAND Corporation, PE-A761-1, September 2020. As of December 7, 2023: https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PEA761-1.html