It’s time we afford individuals who are injured from the COVID-19 vaccine the same recourse we provide individuals harmed by other vaccines. Under The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, vaccine manufacturers and parties who administer vaccines cannot be sued.
In exchange for immunity, vaccine companies pay a 75-cent tax on every vaccine they sell. These funds become part of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). If a person is injured by a covered vaccine, they can file a NVICP claim.
The NVICP permits recovery for out-of-pocket expenses, medical bills, costs associated with rehabilitation and recovery services, future medical costs, current and future lost wages and up to $250,000 in pain, suffering, and emotional damages.
The NVICP also covers the claimant’s legal fees. In 2020, the average NVICP award exceeded $250,000. Since its inception, the fund has paid out over $4.6 billion dollars.
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COVID-19 vaccine injuries are covered by another less generous program
Unfortunately, not a dime of that $4.6 Billion dollars has gone to persons injured by the COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is currently considered a “countermeasure” and therefore covered under the Countermeasure Injury Compensation Program (CICP).
What the NVICP has in generosity, the CICP makes up for in stinginess. CICP claimants rarely receive rewards. They are not provided legal counsel, they are not provided due process, and they can’t be compensated for pain and suffering.
In 2020, the NVICP awarded a total of $186.8 million to 734 individuals.
From 2010-2021, the CICP gave out a total of 29 awards totaling $6.1 million. Less than three awards a year. There have been zero awards given for COVID-19 vaccine claims.
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SIRVA is an example of an injury one can sustain during vaccination
The most common vaccine related injury is called SIRVA, which stands for Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration. SIRVA has nothing to do with the vaccine itself, rather it occurs when the shot is given improperly causing the vaccine to go into the recipient’s bursa.
Hypothetically, let’s say a husband and wife go to their pharmacist together, husband for a COVID-19 booster and wife for a seasonal flu shot. Unfortunately, the pharmacist is having a bad day and he injects them both improperly. They both end up with SIRVA.
Under this scenario, the wife’s claim would fall under the NVICP and the husband’s claim would fall under the CICP. The wife, since she was getting a flu vaccine, would get free legal services, compensation for her out of pocket expenses, payment for past and future medical costs, her lost wages, and payment for her pain and suffering. Her claim could be worth several hundred thousand dollars. Husband, since he was getting the COVID-19 vaccine, would likely get nothing. Same injuries. Same day. Same person giving shots. Completely different results.
Our political leaders have encouraged people to get the vaccine. Accordingly, they should also afford those injured by the COVID-19 vaccine the same avenues of recourse provided to people injured by other vaccines. Adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the NVICP further instills public trust in the vaccine. Most importantly, people who did the right thing by getting vaccinated deserve to be taken care of.
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Modernization Act would provide crucial updates to the NVICP and streamline getting the COVID-19 vaccine added to the NVICP. I would encourage everyone to reach out to their Congressional representative and ask them to support this bipartisan supported bill.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: COVID-19 vaccine injuries: Change law and treat all Americans fairly