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Duff: COVID Vaccine Injuries May Be Covered by Federal Program

  • State: California
  • -  1 share

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.

Michael C. Duff

Michael C. Duff

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 such as 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 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 and Services Administration (HRSA, an agency of the 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.

For general information on covered injuries and causation, see the HRSA page here.  

Michael C. Duff is associate dean for student programs and external relations, and is professor of law, at the University of Wyoming College of Law. This entry is republished from the Workers' Compensation Law Professors blog, with permission.

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