Attorneys familiar with vaccine injury claims have described the current compensation program for COVID-19 vaccines as a legal “black hole” and inadequate for addressing the vaccine injury claims associated with the fast-tracked COVID vaccines.1 Attorney Altom Maglio says he has been contacted by hundreds of people who suspect they have suffered COVID vaccine-related injuries but that there is nothing he or other plaintiff attorneys can do because of the underfunded and understaffed Countermeasure Injury Compensation Program (CICP).2 Maglio’s website states:
Our law firm has concluded that there is nothing our attorneys can do to significantly assist you.2
In 2020, Congress assigned COVID vaccine injury claims to the CICP, which is a federal program responsible for compensating injuries that result from use of government recommended drugs, vaccines and other pharmaceutical products developed and used during declared public health emergencies, such as Ebola and anthrax. The CICP is authorized under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act and administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Since its inception in 2010, only 29 claims have been paid by the CICP, which makes up 10 percent of all filed claims.1
CICP Has Reached Unsustainable Growth Due to COVID Product Claims
The CICP has reached “unsustainable” growth since 2020, having received more than 8,000 COVID claims.2 Over 5,000 of those complaints are directly related to injuries or deaths associated with COVID vaccines, citing incidences ranging from sore shoulders and fevers to death.3 According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest data, about 260 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.4
Some lawyers, who are experienced in filing vaccine injury claims, say that COVID vaccine injuries would be better handled by the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) “vaccine court” created under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which handles claims for childhood vaccines recommended by the CDC, such as the MMR, hepatitis and influenza vaccines.2
However, both the VICP and CICP are facing significant backlogs of vaccine injury claims and pharmaceutical companies, medical trade groups and attorneys believe both programs could collapse entirely.3 Two out of three vaccine injury claimants are turned away without awards in the VICP and often wait years for payouts if they are granted compensation from the U.S. government.5
Compensation Program Could Be Unable to Handle Backlogged Injury Claims
The VICP covers nearly three times the number of shots that it did when it was created in 1986.6 7 If the COVID vaccines are covered by the VICP in the future, there is concern among attorneys that the already overwhelmed VICP will not be able to handle the case load. Several healthcare bills have been proposed in Congress, although none have passed.5
A spokesman for the U.S. Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), which runs the CICP program, stated that the program will deny claims that do not have “compelling” scientific evidence that a vaccine directly caused injury.
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Click here to view References:
1 Hals T. COVID-19 era highlights U.S. ‘black hole’ compensation fund for pandemic vaccine injuries. Reuters Aug. 21, 2020.
2 Greene J. A ‘black hole’ for COVID vaccine injury claims. Reuters June 29, 2021.
3 Gardner L. Vaccine injury compensation programs overwhelmed as congressional reform languishes. Politico June 1, 2022.
4 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID data tracker.
5 Gardner L. Backlog of vaccine injury claims persists as reform languishes. Politico June 1, 2022.
6 CDC. Recommended schedule for active immunization of normal infants and children 1983.
7 CDC. Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule: Recommendations for Ages 18 Years or Younger, United States, 2022. Feb. 17, 2022.