That phrase could be used for so many different scenarios. But one of the most extreme and dangerous scenarios is being played out right now. How our Government is plowing full speed ahead without any concern for the collateral damage it will cause in its quest to provide a COVID vaccine.
I am not going to talk about the science of the vaccines. That is being discussed so many other places.
I want to discuss how our Government is setting up the existing compensation programs for vaccine injury to fail, thus denying any type of future compensation for those who are injured because of the COVID vaccine and possible future new vaccines.
The COVID vaccine is on track to be released first to a designated group of health care workers and residents of senior living facilities. Then as more of the vaccine becomes available, then high-risk candidates due to their medical condition, and finally the general public. This might take 6 months or longer.
And we are starting to read a growing number of medical organizations are saying no. Same for first responders. No one is defending our seniors. And that is a tragedy.
But what happens to anyone that is injured from a COVID vaccine? Their options seeking compensation are extremely limited. The CounterMeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) is your only option. It is not equitable, not efficient from the petitioner’s point of view, and it is not fair. It is extremely difficult to prevail. Currently 8% of all petitioners since 2010 have been awarded compensation. It has been said, “the CICP is a program where you have the right to file and loose.”
I wrote about the CICP last month, “Why injuries suffered from the COVID-19 vaccines need to be litigated in the NVICP.”
The program does not provide reimbursement for legal representation or medical expert fees. The vast majority of us will not be able to afford these fees, generally ranging between $25,000 for shoulder injuries in the NVICP to $250,000 and up for more complex and protracted cases.
The program does not award pain & suffering awards. In the NVICP, this benefit can be awarded up to max of $250,000.
The program does pay for lost wages. However, future lost wages issue has not been settled. The CICP does pay for unreimbursed medical expenses. What is unclear is whether or not the program will pay for lifelong care.
In the CICP, there is no trust fund established by a levy or tax on the countermeasure. Just appropriations by Congress that are not public information.
In the NVICP, you can appeal to a higher court. In the CICP, there is no judicial appeal. You are actually asking the Sec’y of HHS to reconsider the decision. You are asking the same department who denied your claim initially to reconsider. Sounds fair.
And one of the most hideous elements of the CICP is this. They are the payer of last resort. What that means, they will wait to see any private insurance coverage or life insurance pays first, then Medicaid/Medicare and Social Security disability, then the CICP.
So, if your loved one dies because of a countermeasure device, medication, medical treatment or covered vaccine and the estate receives a compensable decision of $250,000 in death benefits. The estate receives a check for that amount, correct? Wrong. Private life insurance pays first, say $200,000. The check received would be only $50,000 or less if there are other benefits awarded to the deceased before CICP pays.
HRSA is the administrator of the program. And they are very foggy with their answers to questions regarding types of awards. I have been filing FOIA’s for over 8 years asking for all case decisions with personal information redacted. They have refused. Hiding behind the answer that the CICP is an administrative function, not a judicial legal proceeding. Thus, they are not required to provide to the public this information.
When asked in the recent ACCV meeting about funding, the representative provided an answer of “funding for future COVID petitions has already been appropriated by Congress.” The CARES Act (passed March 27 2020) allocated money. So, they knew they would be paying out damage awards before any type of development of a vaccine was announced and other COVID related countermeasures were approved.
When asked if there were any petitions already received for COVID, the answer was yes. But not for the vaccine, but rather for other countermeasures used to provide care for patients. When pressed for more specifics, the answer is “we are working with the HRSA FOIA office to determine what information can be provided.”
I have received that answer for the last 8 years. It appears that Sec’y of HHS and HRSA will not provide any specific information. Never.
Our Government is spending a lot of time and effort to convince the public that the COVID vaccines are safe. We have past presidents lining up to receive the vaccine. Reminds me of when President Gerald Ford received a Swine Flu vaccine in the Oval Office back in the fall of 1976. And we all know the disaster of that experimental vaccine and the embarrassment of the disclosure the CDC lied to Congress, to the President and worst of all, the American public.
If they want to provide some confidence to the public, why don’t they disclose what is actually happening with injuries? By keeping it in the dark, the public will think it is safe. And then news of injures will eventually come out and public confidence will nosedive. And now we are seeing media and our government diverting discussion of vaccine safety by calling it “misinformation.”
Another question posed to the HRSA representative today was asking about whether or not the CICP information will be printed on the VIS statement. You will not believe the answer. “That has not been determined.” No public awareness for those who are injured by a countermeasure. Keeps things tidy, don’t you think?
And another ongoing effort by the Sec’y of HHS is to strip Section 17 out of the NVICP. This section deals with the allowing the CDC and other scientific communities to decide which vaccines should be added to the Vaccine Program. If ACIP approves a vaccine for routine administration, The Secretary shall add the vaccine to the NVICP within 2 years. Without Section 17, any approved vaccines might not have any compensable mechanism afforded to them for injuries.
In March 2020, the Sec’y of HHS quietly issues a NPRM to modify the Injury Table of the Vaccine Program to remove SIRVA (shoulder injury) and Syncope (fainting). The ACCV, in May, voted unanimously to reject the Secretary’s proposal. While the nation was so consumed with COVID, was this a chance to take advantage of the distraction? At the time, maybe.
But then in July the Secretary of HHS doubles down on his efforts and forwards another NPRM to remove SIRVA, Syncope and Section 17. Included is a hard deadline for all public comment set for January 12, 2021.
Michael Milmoe, former DOJ attorney representing Sec’y of HHS since the beginning of the Program, and now representing injured clients, stated in his testimony in the ACCV meeting, “In the entire 34 year history of the Program the Secretary has never moved forward with changes to the Table without first obtaining the approval, the buy-in if you will of this Commission—that is until now.”
If the Sec’y of HHS is successful in adding this rule, then it is conceivable that any new vaccines approved by the CDC will have injury petitions adjudicated in the CICP where the public is not allowed to review and see how their tax dollars are spent.
Milmoe continues “If at the end of the day, the scientists recommend that COVID-19 vaccines be recommended for routine use in children, all COVID-19 cases should be covered by the Vaccine Program. Not the CICP. The proposed Rule give the Secretary the sole discretion to make that decision, and from a scientific and policy standpoint, that is very unwise.”
Imagine if several other childhood vaccine injuries being removed from The Program and forcing parents to fight it out in the CounterMeasures Injury Compensation Program.
I believe that this is a real possibility. And a possibility that is gaining steam and extremely difficult to stop.
Wayne Rohde, author of The Vaccine Court-The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and The Vaccine Court 2.0 (to be released early 2021) and host of podcast RightOnPoint.online discussing legal issues of The PREP Act, The NVICP, and legalities surrounding CounterMeasures Injury Comp Program and COVID vaccine.