Efforts are underway for a vaccine targeting coronavirus disease (COVID-19). There are at least 120 vaccines been developed worldwide and the pace in which these trials are pursued increases the risk for unforeseen conditions in comparison to other trials which usually take much longer than a year.

Vaccines are meant to induce the immune system to build a long-term defence mechanism, and therefore can also result in severe adverse reactions. To encourage drug makers to develop a vaccine that will help combat this pandemic, various governments are providing liability immunity to protect and minimise potential liability exposures. Liability immunity is basically a financial shield from costly liability lawsuits resulting from compensation and legal costs.

As an example of how the liability immunity works, in the United States, under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, liability for vaccines is shifted to the government and shields the drug makers. Compensation will be paid through the government’s Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program. The current timeline for the immunity is from 4 February 2020 until 1 October 2024.

A similar approach is taken in the EU, in the case of the leading vaccine candidate developed by AstraZeneca, the deal is that the European governments will pay claims above an agreed amount over side-effects from its potential COVID-19 vaccine.

For more detail about Axco's Clinical Trials information service, please contact me at nimmi.mathi@axcoinfo.com or axco@axcoinfo.com.