Dr. Pedro A. Villarreal: COVID-19 and the Legal Issues of a Post-Vaccine World

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The “rollout” of the first vaccines against COVID-19 has begun in several countries. In this presentation Dr. Pedro A. Villarreal, Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law in International Law, discusses two emerging legal issues.

First, the speedy regulatory approval of the vaccines leads to difficult questions of who should pay in case of potential adverse effects in patients. In the absence of international law frameworks applicable to the subject, comparative private and public law analyses, including of supranational EU law, are necessary. This exercise shows different models of no-fault liability and compensation schemes.

Second, directly related to the first issue, as immunization campaigns advance, reducing the virus´ transmission rate to the possible minimum will become a central policy goal. A higher availability of doses may nevertheless stumble upon social challenges, such as vaccine hesitancy. The epidemiological notion of “herd immunity” might be used as a normative yardstick for justifying certain measures, namely compulsory vaccination.

In his presentation, Dr. Villarreal addresses these two legal issues through a comparison with past disease outbreaks where similar problems were at stake.

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