vaccine injury claims

The pandemic was a difficult time for the public and the government both. While the public has scrambled to find ways to save themselves from the unpredictable Coronavirus, the government tried to minimize the number of hospitalizations and deaths. In a bid to sort the problem out, many companies rapidly developed vaccines that were then made available to the public. But are there options for valid vaccine injury claims?

The government has been encouraging people to get vaccinated, but now that many people are vaccinated people have experienced severe side effects. However, despite these claims, very few people have been compensated by the government for the severe side effects.

COVID vaccine injury claims

DC Attorney Roger Gelb explained the magnitude of the problem, “There are more than 1,300 COVID vaccine-related injury claims currently pending. Yet, up to date, only two such cases, one involving swelling of the tongue and throat after the vaccination, the other alleging long-lasting, severe shoulder pain, have been decided.” He further stated that the government denied both cases compensation due to a lack of proof of the symptoms being a direct consequence of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The litigants’ file claims under the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program have not succeeded. Since 2010, 92% of the claims regarding the side effects of other vaccines were either denied or deemed ineligible for review.

Unclear recourse for those affected

Jessica McFadden claims to have developed life-threatening blood clots after receiving Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine in April. But her legal options are unclear. McFadden said that she was previously healthy but ended up needing two emergency surgeries to remove massive clots in her lungs, heart, and left leg after getting vaccinated.

She spent nine days in the hospital, leading to a $489,153 medical bill. Her insurance will cover most, but not all of the tab. She estimates she will pay up to $7,000 out of pocket. She is not optimistic about her odds of recovering her losses, and, certainly, she won’t be able to recover any pain and suffering damages under the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program.

A reaction like McFadden’s is extremely rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May stated that out of 8.7 million people who had received the J&J vaccine only 28 suffered the complication of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome. According to the CDC, there is a “plausible causal association” between the vaccine and blood clots.

Proving the cause of the vaccine injury claim

It is difficult to be compensated for Covid-19 vaccine side effects due to the lack of proof. According to a DC accident lawyer, since the vaccines are relatively new, there is still not enough scientific proof and research to back the claims of those facing severe side effects.

Under a 1986 law, cases about injury claims due to DPT, hepatitis, influenza, and other standard shots are brought to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, also known as the “vaccine court.” The forum isn’t perfect, but over the years it has awarded more than $4 billion to injured claimants.

But COVID-19 vaccine injury cases are not being decided there. In March 2020 it was declared that liability immunity for medical countermeasures related to the novel coronavirus would be provided under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act of 2005. Injury claims would be handled by the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, which is run by the Health Resources and Services Administration and is geared toward public health emergencies. The coverage for claimants would be limited: Lost wages up to $50,000 a year and out-of-pocket medical expenses. If the person died, their next-of-kin could seek death benefits up to $370,376.

To file for an injury, the person would fill out a form reviewed by CICP medical staff. If requesters disagree with the decision, they can ask for reconsideration by “a qualified panel, independent of the program.” The panel would then recommend the associate administrator of the Health Systems Bureau of HRSA, whose decision on the payout is final.

However, there are no independent judges, no chance to present one’s case in person or damages for pain and suffering, and no right to appeal beyond the agency.

The 1986 Vaccine law

According to the steps laid out in the 1986 vaccine law, for the COVID-19 vaccine to be reviewed by a vaccine court, the CDC must recommend the shots for routine administration to children. Then Congress has to pass a law adding the 75-cent tax on each COVID-19 vaccine given, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services must then move the vaccines to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

All these steps will take years to be implemented. Those affected have to go through the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program to attempt to get any relief that they can in case of severe side effects to the Covid-19 vaccines.

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