McGuireWoods partner Davis Walsh was quoted in Jenna Greene's March 22, 2021, “Legal Action” column, published by Westlaw Today, titled “Vaccine Envy Spurs Lawsuits Across the Country.”
The column discussed the possibility of litigation on behalf of people who did not meet the initial criteria to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and then died of the coronavirus.
The column referenced a 2014 New York case in which the widow of a man who died of swine flu in 2009 sued his healthcare providers for failing to administer the H1N1 vaccine, which was in short supply. The man's doctors had determined he did not meet the criteria to get the vaccine.
Under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, individuals and organizations working to provide “countermeasures” against the coronavirus have broad liability protections, Walsh noted, but it is debatable whether that protection would apply if a plaintiff did not receive a vaccine.
"There's a real possibility of litigation arising under similar facts as the case with the swine flu," he said.
Walsh and McGuireWoods partner Samuel Tarry are editors of “Infectious Disease Litigation: Science, Law & Procedure,” published by the American Bar Association in February 2021. The book provides practical guidance for handling infectious disease litigation, from COVID-19 pandemic disputes to matters related to localized outbreaks that require specialized knowledge.