Family of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration

Family of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration
George Watts Jr., in this file image. (Courtesy of the Watts family)
Zachary Stieber
6/2/2023
Updated:
6/4/2023
0:00

The family of a college student who died from heart inflammation caused by Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has sued President Joe Biden’s administration, alleging that officials engaged in “willful misconduct.”

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) officials wrongly promoted COVID-19 vaccination by repeatedly claiming that the available vaccines were “safe and effective,” relatives of George Watts Jr. said in the new lawsuit seeking damages.

That promotion “duped millions of Americans, including Mr. Watts, into being DOD’s human subjects in its medical experiment, the largest in modern history,” the suit states.

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act allows lawsuits against certain people if they have engaged in “willful misconduct” and if that misconduct caused death or serious injury.

COVID-19 vaccines are covered by the act because of a declaration entered during the Trump administration in 2020.

“DOD’s conduct and the harm caused as alleged within the four corners of the lawsuit speaks for itself,” Ray Flores, a lawyer representing the Watts family, told The Epoch Times via email. “I have no further comment other than to say: My only duty is to advocate for my client. If the DOD conveys a settlement offer, I will see that it’s considered.”

The suit was filed in U.S. court in Washington.
The Pentagon and the Department of Justice didn’t respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.

Watts Suddenly Died

Watts was a student at Corning Community College when the school mandated COVID-19 vaccination for in-person classes in 2021. He received one Pfizer dose on Aug. 27, 2021, and a second dose approximately three weeks later.

Watts soon began experiencing a range of symptoms, including tingling in his feet, pain in his heels, numbness in his hands and fingers, blood in his sperm and urine, and sinus pressure, according to family members and health records.

He went to the emergency room at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Pennsylvania on Oct. 12, 2021. X-rays showed clear lungs and a normal heart outline.

George Watts Jr., in this file image. (Courtesy of the Watts family)
George Watts Jr., in this file image. (Courtesy of the Watts family)

He was sent home with advice to follow up with specialists, but he returned to the emergency room a week later with worsening symptoms despite a week of the antibiotic Augmentin. He was diagnosed with sinusitis and bronchitis.

While speaking to his mother at home on Oct. 27, 2021, Watts suddenly collapsed. Emergency medical personnel rushed to the home but found him unresponsive. He was rushed to the same hospital in an ambulance. He was pronounced deceased at age 24.

According to a doctor at the hospital, citing hospital records and family members, Watts had no past medical history on file that would explain his sudden death, with no known history of substance abuse or obvious signs of substance abuse. His mother described her son as a “healthy young male.”

Dr. Robert Stoppacher, a pathologist who performed an autopsy on the body, said that the death was due to “COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis.” The death certificate listed no other causes. A COVID-19 test returned a negative result. Dr. Sanjay Verma, based in California, reviewed the documents in the Watts case and said that he believed the death was caused by the COVID-19 vaccination.

Pfizer didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Watts Took Vaccine Under Pressure

The community college mandate included a 35-day grace period following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were given emergency use authorization (EUA) early in the pandemic. The FDA approved the Pfizer shot on Aug. 23, 2021. It was the first COVID-19 vaccine approval. But doses of the approved version of the shot, branded Comirnaty, were not available for months after the approval.

That matters because vaccines under EUA, per federal regulations, “may be effective” and people must be informed of the status. Approval, or licensure, has a higher bar. Licensing means a vaccine is “safe, pure, and potent,” according to federal law. Emergency authorization was enabled by the 2020 declaration made by then-Health Secretary Alex Azar under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, which largely shields vaccine manufacturers and others involved with the vaccines from liability.

The liability doesn’t cover “willful misconduct,” or acts or omission taken “intentionally to achieve a wrongful purpose,” “knowingly without legal or factual justification,” and “in disregard of a known or obvious risk that is so great as to make it highly probable that the harm will outweigh the benefit.”

As proof that military officials engaged in misconduct, the suit notes that they made statements that run counter to the law. As early as February 2021, for instance, Austin said the vaccines were “safe and effective” despite that they had not been approved.

“Rather than candidly telling the American public that the vaccines were merely ‘authorized’ ... DOD officials intentionally blurred the line between EUA status and licensure as a means to deceive the public into accepting the vaccines as if they had been FDA approved,” the suit states. “The ’safe and effective' mantra was DOD’s ruse to ensure accelerated distribution of their experimental vaccines.”

The U.S. military was deeply involved in efforts to get people vaccinated. Military officials signed the 2020 agreement with Pfizer for hundreds of millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and military officials helped lead Operation Warp Speed, an $18 billion effort that funded vaccine development and distribution. And the same day Pfizer’s vaccine was approved, Austin announced military members would be required to get vaccinated. The mandate remained in effect until January 2023.

Watts received the vaccine only “because the school otherwise barred him from attending in-person classes,” according to the suit. But he waited until Comirnaty was licensed before going to an appointment on Aug. 27, 2021. When he arrived, though, he received the doses that were issued under emergency authorization, since the newly approved formulation wasn’t yet available.

Officials should have immediately moved to replace the old vaccine doses in light of the approval, the suit claims, noting court rulings that found that the military illegally required an experimental anthrax vaccine.

“DOD continually and knowingly engaged in massive, deliberate deception and exaggeration to create demand in order to push the vaccines into the arms of as many Americans as possible, making the majority of the country (including Mr. Watts) unknowing participants in its mass human experiment,” the suit states.

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