Thursday, December 17, 2020
I fear that very soon we may be facing vaccine injuries in connection with the dispensing of essentially experimental Covid vaccines. I certainly hope it does not happen, but experience is a cruel teacher. In addition to potential workers’ compensation coverage, there is also a federal program that covers just these types of injuries—the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). Unlike injuries caused by more routine vaccinations like seasonal flu, and covered by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the CICP covers injuries from “countermeasures” which are defined as “a vaccination, medication, device, or other item recommended to diagnose, prevent or treat a declared pandemic, epidemic or security threat.”
Federal declarations issued by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services specify the countermeasures covered by the Program, and declarations have previously been issued for medical countermeasures against COVID-19, Marburg fever, Ebola, Nerve Agents and Certain Insecticides, Zika, Pandemic Influenza, Anthrax, Acute Radiation Syndrome, Botulinum Toxin, and Smallpox. According to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA—an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) benefits include Medical Expenses, Lost Employment Income, Benefits to the Estate, and Survivor Death Benefits. I don’t know enough about the program to comment on benefit offsets and similar problems that undoubtedly arise in the interplay of multiple benefits and tort damages (and the like), though I do know that the CICP is the “payer of last resort.” I will be recommending to injured persons I may encounter that they simply file. From the perspective of protecting vulnerable workers, the more arrows in the quiver the better as far as I am concerned. We can do the math later.
Contact information for this program in addition to the website to which I have linked above:
Health Resources and Services Administration, Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, 5600 Fishers Lane, 08N146B, Rockville, MD 20857
Michael C. Duff