New Suggestions to Fix the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program for COVID-19 Injuries

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Recently, an article published in the August Issue of “Food and Drug Law Journal” titled Immunizing the Immunizers: How COVID-19 Vaccine Injury Claims and the CICP Will Increase Anti-Vaccine Sentiment in the United States and How HRSA Can Prevent It, described several ways that the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) could change the way it handles COVID-19 vaccine injury claims.

Currently, Covid-19 vaccine injury claims can only be filed in the CICP. The article suggests options for changing the CICP ranging from reform to a complete overhaul of the system. 

Option 1: Changing the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program

The first option is to keep the CICP program intact, but with substantial changes. The program needs transparency; currently, there isn’t any throughout the process. This lack of transparency even extends to communication.

Better Communication

People filing claims don’t hear from anyone at the CICP  until they get a letter denying their claim. People deserve open communication throughout the entire claim process, not to be left in the dark of the black hole called the CICP. 

Give People a timeline

Additionally, people should know how much time the CICP has to make a decision. Right now, there’s no set timeline, leaving people in process purgatory for months or years.

Longer Statute of Limitations

Right now you only have one year from the date you got the vaccine to file a claim. The article suggests two years from the date symptoms started is more reasonable. 

Pay People’s Attorney Fees 

Finally, the program needs to pay for people’s attorney’s fees, ensuring that no one is left slogging through the system without representation of their best interest. 

Option 2: Move COVID-19 Cases to the VICP

The second option is to move COVID-19 cases to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) and eliminate COVID-19 vaccines from coverage under the CICP. The VICP is a long-standing institution with a proven track record of compensation.

Compensate More Claims

 Unlike the CICP, which compensates 0.4% of claims, the VICP compensates 75% of the claims it receives

Appoint Specialized Court and Judges

This option would allow COVID-19 Vaccine injury cases to be held in the Court of Federal Claims under the Office of Special Masters, a group of specially trained judges who hear only vaccine injury claims. 

Extend the Timeline to File a Claim

The VICP includes extended time limits to file a claim and a deadline for a response from the court. 

Expand Communication

The VICP gives people the ability to communicate about their claim status throughout the process. 

Option 3: Create a New Program 

Finally, an entirely new program could be created to hear COVID-19 vaccine claims within the Court of Federal Claims. This would involve blending the VICP program with tactics used in the September 11th Compensation Fund, which allowed people the chance to advocate their claim face-to-face with those making the decisions. 

The CICP is Fatally Flawed and Needs Change

The CICP program is fatally flawed and needs a complete overhaul to help the thousands of people who’ve had severe reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine.

This process is so secretive and convoluted that it is frequently called a “black hole.” People submit their claims and then become lost in the system without access to check on the status of their claim, and with little communication about their eligibility.

The CICP has not compensated a single case out of the thousands of claims filed. If the goal of the CICP is to help people experiencing life-changing vaccine injuries; it’s currently failing. Overhauling the CICP shifts the power from a nameless, faceless process, back into the hands of the people. 

If the Department of Health and Human Services truly wants to help the thousands of people injured or even killed by reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, they’ll change the system, even if that means destroying the whole thing to rebuild anew.

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