First court hearing on BioNTech’s COVID vaccine postponed

BERLIN (AA): The first court hearing in Germany on alleged side effects of BioNTech’s COVID vaccine was postponed on Monday, after a petition by a plaintiff’s lawyer.

A spokesman for the Hamburg Regional Court said the plaintiff’s lawyer sought the currently assigned judge’s recusal, and demanded that the court be heard by a group of judges.

A chamber has to decide on this request, and this could take a few days, the spokesman told German press agency DPA.

The lawsuit was filed by Rogert & Ulbrich law firm on behalf of a middle-aged healthcare worker.

The worker demanded €150,000 ($161,000) in compensation for bodily harm allegedly caused by the vaccine. She claims that she suffered upper-body pain, swelling in the arms and legs, fatigue, and sleep disorder.

The plaintiff also sought compensation for unspecified material damage.

Rogert & Ulbrich announced that it has filed about 250 lawsuits for clients seeking compensation for alleged side effects of the vaccines.

There are also other lawsuits filed against the company on the same matter by Mainz-based Casar-Preller and Caesar-Preller, which announced that it filed 100 lawsuits.

About three-quarters of the 224 million vaccine doses administered in Germany were produced by BioNTech, and the vast majority of compensation claims were filed against BioNTech, which pioneered the use of mRNA technology in vaccines.

The cases in Germany represent the largest compensation claim BioNTech has faced worldwide since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Similar lawsuits were filed in Italy for the alleged side effects of coronavirus vaccines.

In a statement, BioNTech said that after careful examination, it is confident that the cases in question were “baseless” and would be rejected.

It noted that about 1.5 billion people worldwide, including at least 64 million in Germany, have been given the vaccine, and to date, potential side effects other than those already listed in the relevant product information have not been detected.