We are getting way off topic here, but lawsuits generally won’t win if the only argument is that the product can be dangerous. Most products are dangerous. The question is are they unreasonably dangerous?
Whether something is unreasonably dangerous depends on various factors such as whether warnings were present, whether alternatives were available at the time of production that were both safer and reasonable to implement.
Basically, the smallpox manufacturers did not need to be worried if (1) they are not aware of any safety measures that would make the vaccine less dangerous, or (2) they provide sufficient warnings to doctors and patients.
Unless the manufacturer has some sort of sordid past (they have actively hidden evidence that their vaccine gives people cancer) I really don’t see them as being at risk. The only reason both the tobacco and asbestos companies have been the subject of lawsuits is because they failed the warning test. They both knew of the dangers of their products and decided to actively hide them from the public. Even the McDonalds case hinged on lack of warning (go into any Chevy’s restaurant, and they will always say “careful, that’s a hot plate” but you are lucky to get a monosyllabic grunt from the guy at the McDonald’s drive-thru)
Imagine the following scenario: Husband is told that he is not in any heightened risk category for getting vaccine. Husband gets vaccine. Wife, however, is in heightened risk categories. Wife becomes seriously ill/dies.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I won’t loose any sleep if the manufacturer is sued because they neglected to mention to the husband that he should not come into contact with anyone in the heightened risk categories because of the contagious nature of the vaccine.
Personally, I would have much preferred lawmakers to get some balls and, instead of giving the vaccine makers a totally free pass, to have just re-stated the current law (“Smallpox vaccine producers are immune from any lawsuit as long as they provide adequate warnings and are not aware of less-dangerous alternative methods of vaccinating against smallpox, as long as those alternative mehtods are reasonable to implement.”)