Liability for Damages Caused by COVID-19 Vaccination

Maciej Kalinski
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXIV, Issue 3, 1065-1083, 2021
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/2405


Purpose: The article discusses the problem of liability for damages relating to optional COVID-19 vaccinations conducted in Poland. The author investigates instances of liability tied to particular entities involved in the vaccination process. First, the liability of the State Treasury based on Government officials promoting the vaccinations in the media. Second, liability of the Material Reserve Agency (now the Governmental Strategic Reserve Agency) for purchasing vaccines as aiding a tort. Third, that same agency held liable - as the importer - under product liability. Fourth, the National Health Fund, liable as the direct organizer of the vaccination. Fifth, the vaccine manufacturer in the context of dangerous product liability. Sixth, the treatment provider liable for the conduct of its personnel. Seventh, the European Union in its capacity as an importer of vaccines, for aiding a harmful effect on one’s health, but also for causing damage legally (in two alternative options). The study examines the possible implications of damages for mass vaccination against COVID-19, conducted in Poland from December 2020. Design/Methodology/Approach: The author applies a dogmatic method, examining potential liability due to the different categories of debtors involved in the organization and execution of the vaccination. Findings: Vaccination liability in tort is possible in the situations identified in the article. The main difficulty lies in the necessity of proving at least a condition sine qua non-type of causal connection between vaccination and bodily injury or a deterioration of health. Under this condition, liability may arise on the part of the National Health Fund, but also on the part of the vaccine manufacturer and the European Union. Practical Implications: The conclusions can be used in lawsuits in the event of vaccine-induced harm. Originality/Value: The issue of tort liability for vaccination that is not obligatory but organized by the State has not been extensively studied in the Polish legislation.

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