PREP Act and COVID-19: Limiting Liability for Medical Countermeasures [Updated June 19, 2020] [open pdf - 720KB]
From the Document: "To encourage the expeditious development and deployment of medical countermeasures during a public health emergency, the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to limit legal liability for losses relating to the administration of medical countermeasures such as diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. In a declaration effective February 4, 2020 (the HHS Declaration), the Secretary of HHS invoked the PREP Act and declared Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to be a public health emergency warranting liability protections for covered countermeasures. Under the HHS Declaration, covered persons are generally immune from legal liability (i.e., they cannot be sued for money damages in court) for losses relating to the administration or use of covered countermeasures against COVID-19. The sole exception to PREP Act immunity is for death or serious physical injury caused by 'willful misconduct.' However, individuals who die or suffer serious injuries directly caused by the administration of covered countermeasures may be eligible to receive compensation through the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10443
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/