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US may take decades to compensate COVID vaccine injury cases, say estimates

Canada pays $2 million in vaccine injury compensation

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January 04, 2023


08:21 AM

US may take decades to compensate COVID vaccine injury cases, say estimates

It is likely to take the federal government decades to properly compensate those who have applied for compensation from COVID-19 vaccine injuries, if it continues at its current pace. 

The Countermeasure Injury Compensation Program (CICP) is meant to compensate injuries and deaths that were caused by medical devices and drugs delivered during certain public health emergencies, including COVID-19. Prior to 2020, the CICP had adjudicated less than 500 cases in its entire history, according to Reuters. 

As of December 1, 2022, there were 11,431 CICP claims filed. 10,899 of those are related to COVID-19, an increase of over 3,000 claims since March 2022. Furthermore, 70% of all those CICP claims were for injuries resulting specifically from the COVID-19 vaccine and the remaining 3,275 claims alleged injuries/deaths from other COVID-19 countermeasures.  

As of this report, only 30 claims have been compensated. None of them were related to the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“At the current pace, it will take decades for the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program — which prior to 2020 had decided fewer than 500 cases in its entire history — to sort through them all,” estimates Reuters. 

Last year, the CICP had only eight full-time employees, per budgetary documents, though the CICP says it will be hiring more. 

“We are actively bringing on additional administrative staff and claims reviewers to process these claims as quickly as possible,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. It is unknown how many more staff members will be added to the program. 

The Biden administration allocated $5 million for the CICP in 2022. 

In the meantime, Canada has already doled out $2.06 million (C$2.8 million) to COVID-19 vaccine victims, and Australia’s budget for vaccine injury compensation is expected to jump to $50 million (A$77 million) by July 2023. 

“We call the CICP program a black hole,” says Greg Rogers, a lawyer with Rogers Hofrichter & Karrah LLC in Atlanta.   

In March, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Countermeasure Injury Compensation Amendment Act which, among its various goals, would “improve responsiveness, create a commission to examine the injuries directly caused as a result of COVID-19 countermeasures, and allow those whose claims have been previously rejected to resubmit claims for new consideration.” 

This came after U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced two bills in 2021 to help vaccine victims get compensated. These were the Vaccine Injury Compensation Modernization Act of 2021 (HR 3655) and the Vaccine Access Improvement Act of 2021 (HR 3656).   

Together, those bills would reform the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which currently is only for children and pregnant women and offers a larger payout than CICP. Under this legislation, vaccine victims would be included in VICP and would get a bigger payout.   

None of the bills have gone past committee. 

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