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A nurse prepares to draw a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from a vial at the Atzavara nursing home in Catalunya, Spain, on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. (Photo: Bloomberg) A nurse prepares to draw a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from a vial at the Atzavara nursing home in Catalunya, Spain, on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. (Photo: Bloomberg)

The COVID-19 vaccines are here and distribution has begun. But what if something goes wrong?

Whether it’s a loss of income, hefty medical bills or other serious adverse effects from getting a shot, someone has to pick up the tab, be it vaccine manufacturers or governments. In the past, so-called liability shields have given companies cover to produce effective treatments quickly without legal exposure. But it’s a risky endeavor for countries to absorb full responsibility for highly novel products, developed and licensed at lightning speed. Especially when every man, woman, and eventually, child will need to be injected.

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