Israeli Officials Were Warned to Present COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Data Carefully to Avoid Lawsuits

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An expert hired by Israel’s government to help analyze COVID-19 vaccine adverse event reports warned officials in a closed-door meeting to carefully present the data to the public because of litigation concerns, according to leaked video of the meeting.

Dr. Mati Berkovitch, the expert, said that the phenomenon of rechallenge found by the team turned causal links between the events and Pfizer’s vaccine “from possible to definitive,” according to the video, which was reviewed by The Epoch Times.

Rechallenge means investigators find an adverse event worsens or reoccurs with subsequent vaccine doses. Causality means a vaccine is determined to be the cause of the adverse event.

Because of the rechallenge, “we will also have to think medicolegal,” Berkovitch said. “Why medicolegal? Because there were quite a few phenomena, we said, ‘okay, it exists, there is a report, but still get vaccinated.’

“I mean, you have to think about how to write it and how to present it correctly, so there won’t be lawsuits after that,” he said.

Berkovitch imagined a person who suffered an adverse event following vaccination.

“‘Wait, wait, wait, you said that everything will pass and you need to get vaccinated. And now look what happened to me,’” he said, pretending to be the person. “‘The phenomenon continues.’ We need to think about the medicolegal aspect before we move forward, Emilia.”

Berkovitch was speaking to Dr. Emilia Anis, a top official with Israel’s Ministry of Health (MoH), during a meeting in June.

Vaccine Safety Monitoring, Compensation

Berkovitch’s team was charged with analyzing reports submitted to an updated safety monitoring system, after the old system was found to be unreliable in part because submitters were not required to give their names or other information, Israeli officials have said. The new system, which requires certain details such as names, went online in December 2021.

The meeting went over an analysis of reports lodged through May 2022.

The MoH issued a report to the public two months after the closed-door meeting. The report omitted key points of discussion, including the finding of causality for some side effects.

Israelis who have suffered an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine can file a lawsuit in court or file a claim with the government’s no-fault compensation program that was established after the Vaccine Injury Compensation Law was passed in 1989.

The program is set up to make it easier for vaccine-injured individuals to get compensation by lowering their burden of proof and lessening their wait-time, but, according to Israeli researchers, that has not been the case. Rather, the “strict requirement to prove a scientific causal link between vaccine and injury presents a serious obstacle to the claimants and thus does not advance the principles that underlie the law, i.e. fairness, solidarity, and trust,” according to the researchers.

‘Sounds Very Bad’

Iris Agassi Maimon, a lawyer in Israel preparing to bring a lawsuit on behalf of a doctor who suffered an adverse event from a COVID-19 vaccine, said that the lawsuit warning doesn’t look good.

“It sounds very bad, I think, for our country. It’s something you shouldn’t do, as you know the damages and you’re just trying to hide them in order not to pay,” Maimon told The Epoch Times.

She said she hopes that Berkovitch’s remarks were not representing the MoH and that the remarks “might help” in the pending suit.

Dr. Harvey Risch, a professor emeritus of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, said Berkovitch admitted an intention to cover up what researchers found.

“Instead of being transparent and publicly stating that extensive review has determined that some people have been seriously harmed by the vaccines, the statement here is to protect the government from the consequences of its bad decisions and policies,” Risch told The Epoch Times in an email.

“When health authorities promote a pharmaceutical product, they have now tied their reputation and legitimacy to the success of the product,” Aaron Siri, an American lawyer, added. “This can lead to dangerous results, as apparently occurred in Israel, where data reflecting harms from Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was apparently suppressed as it did not comport with prior recommendations of the Israeli health authorities.”

MoH Officials

Video of the meeting was obtained by journalist Yaffa Shir-Raz and reviewed by The Epoch Times, which has also had the entire meeting translated from Hebrew to English to accurately report on discussions that occurred.

After Berkovitch warned about lawsuits, Anis, the Israeli health official, said saying she would see about presenting the information to Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, an MoH official who has told American regulators that she is in charge of Israel’s COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring.

“Fine. I will ask to present all this to Sharon [to see] what is possible, how can this whole issue be promoted,” Anis said.

“You guys are just amazing. I think we really got something and it’s important to continue it. So there is added value to the system,” Anis added.

She departed the meeting moments later, claiming she had a different meeting she had to attend. She told Berkovitch and his team that she would update them after speaking with Alroy-Preis.

Anis refused to comment on the discussions that unfolded in the meeting. A query to her was returned by a MoH spokesperson, who declined to answer a list of questions. A different MoH spokesperson also declined to answer a query. Berkovitch, Pfizer, and Alroy-Preis have not responded to requests for comment. Sasha Zhurat, a member of Berkovitch’s team who presented most of the data, declined to comment.

Zachary Stieber

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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.

Meiling Lee

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Meiling Lee is a health reporter for The Epoch Times. Contact her by emailing meiling.lee@epochtimes.nyc



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