House Republicans Ask Biden When Legal Immunity for Vaccine Manufacturers Will End

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
December 21, 2021 Updated: December 22, 2021

A group of House Republicans has asked President Joe Biden about the legal immunity granted to COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, expressing concern about the immunity combined with the administration’s vaccine mandates.

Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) and 15 colleagues told Biden in a Dec. 20 letter that the mandates raise “many concerns as to the ethics of the federal government requiring a vaccine which receives special liability protections normally afforded to developing drugs, financially benefiting the vaccine manufacturers.”

During the Trump administration, then-Health Security Alex Azar invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act and declared vaccine makers immune from claims except for those alleging “willful misconduct.”

The invocation has been extended multiple times and is currently set to stay in place until October 2024.

People who suffer adverse reactions from a COVID-19 vaccine can seek compensation from a program known as CICP, but program administrators have been slow to analyze claims. The first payout was just announced last week.

Cloud and the other congressmembers said they see the combination of mandates and legal protection for Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson unjust.

“It is utterly unjust to the American people to not only use the coercive arm of the government to force vaccines upon them, but to then provide little legal recourse for damages should they be adversely affected. It is our belief that in the face of such mandates, the American people should be entitled to greater legal recourse to recoup damages brought on by the federal government,” they wrote.

“Trying to unconstitutionally mandate an experimental vaccine on Americans without allowing them legal recourse if they are adversely affected is one of the most egregiously tyrannical abuses of power in America’s history,” Cloud added in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times. “Giving full-blown legal immunity to vaccine manufacturers while mandating the public to use their product is absurd. If the Biden administration continues to pursue forced injections, then vaccine manufacturers must have their legal immunity revoked, allowing Americans to take legal action if they experience harmful side effects.”

Epoch Times Photo
A nurse fills up syringes for patients as they receive their COVID-19 booster vaccination during a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination clinic in Southfield, Mich., on Sept. 29, 2021. (Emily Elconin/Reuters)

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email that “there are no current plans” to rescind the PREP Act declaration.

Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Millions of Americans have experienced side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, according to reports submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

One of the most severe side effects, blood clotting with low blood platelet levels, has been seen more frequently after people get Johnson & Johnson’s shot. About 15 percent of cases have led to death. That prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week to recommend people get one of the other vaccines.

The Pfizer and Moderna shots have been linked to post-vaccination heart inflammation, but health officials have said they have not been able to confirm that the condition has resulted in any deaths.

The Food and Drug Administration and the CDC say the benefits of all three vaccines cleared for use in the United States outweigh the risks. The benefits are primarily the reduction of hospitalizations following contraction of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.

The Biden administration was asked whether there are plans to rescind the current PREP Act declaration, given regulators approved Pfizer’s vaccine in August.

It was also asked what criteria must be satisfied to rescind the declaration before its expiration date and how the criteria are decided upon.