Hundreds awaiting a decision from the gov’t's ‘stingy’ vaccine injury compensation program
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June 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) -- A U.S. government compensation program that would provide payouts to people who have been injured or lost loved ones from experimental COVID vaccines includes a board with an unknown number of anonymous members who have not awarded a penny to a single victim among hundreds of applicants to date.
Currently, 869 people are awaiting decisions from the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), which was set up to compensate people who have been injured by fast-tracked and experimental “countermeasures,” including vaccines and other drugs.
Because pharmaceutical companies have immunity from lawsuits, CICP exists to offer payouts for lost wages and medical expenses from vaccine injuries. But the program has paid meager handouts to a handful of applicants among hundreds in the past 10 years and has not adjudicated even one COVID vaccine decision to date.
“It’s a lousy program,” said Peter Meyers, professor of law emeritus at the George Washington University Law School and former director of the school’s Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic. “It’s a secretive, opaque program whereby some unknown officials within the Department of Health and Human Services will make decisions; we don’t know how many people are adjudicating, who they are, or what the process is.”
Applicants have only a year from the date of vaccination to apply for CICP benefits and may wait “months and months” for a decision, which is not published, Meyers added. So the public does not know who is granted or refused benefits or why. CICP decisions cannot be appealed.
What is known is that the CICP is “stingy,” said Meyers. In 10 years of existence, it has ruled on the applications of 492 people and refused 453 of them. Only 39 cases were deemed eligible for countermeasures compensation. Of those, 10 could not prove lost wages or medical expenses and received nothing from the program. The 29 applicants -- injured by vaccines, including anthrax, smallpox and experimental H1N1 pandemic vaccines -- who were compensated for serious injuries or deaths (it is unknown what value the CICP puts on a life) -- shared $6 million in CICP total payouts to date, averaging about $209,000 each.
“There is no compensation for pain and suffering,” said Meyers. The benefits are only for limited lost wages and proven medical expenses. Retired people, for example, would not qualify for a benefit even if they were to die or were left in a wheelchair. Salary compensation is capped at $50,000 per year and is of limited duration.
Of the 859 applicants pending in the program, Meyers said no one knows how many are for COVID vaccines or for other countermeasures such as ventilators or drugs like Remdesivir or for what sort of injuries and deaths they seek benefits. “We can only speculate,” Meyers said. “It’s very unfortunate how secret they are that they don’t give out this information.”
The CICP says it will respond to calls within 24 hours, but no one there, including Tamara Overby, who is featured in a film on the CICP webpage as the program’s deputy director, responded to inquiries from LifeSite in more than three business days.
As of June 4, the U.S. government Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has received more than 329,000 reports of adverse events after COVID vaccination, including 5,888 deaths. Another 5,884 people reported life-threatening reactions, 4,583 had reactions classified as “permanent disabilities,” and 19,597 people were hospitalized after COVID shots that are still unlicensed experimenta and distributed under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) only.
VAERS reports are not proof that a vaccine was responsible for the reported injuries, but they do represent people who believe someone died or was made ill by a powerful immune-system altering injection they received. In thousands of cases, the connection is temporal: 853 people died the same day they received the shot, for example. Another 940 deaths were within one day of a COVID vaccine injection.
Reports to VAERS represent only a tiny fraction – less than one percent, according to a Harvard Pilgrim study -- of the real incidence of side effects. Public health has admitted that some adverse events – including deaths from brain blood clots, anaphylaxis and myocarditis (heart inflammation) – are “extremely rare” side effects of COVID vaccines but that their “benefits outweigh the risks.” Side effects may not feel ‘rare’ to the thousands of who are experiencing them, however, and the benefits don’t outweigh the risks for the dead.
Zero liability for vaccine makers
The government spent $3 billion on one advertising campaign for experimental COVID shots, marketing them as “safe and effective” and necessary for “herd immunity,” but they don’t mention the people who develop side effects. What happens when these people are children without a parent? Or when a spouse or child dies? Who compensates when people develop serious side effects with costly health bills after a COVID shot?
“There is virtually 100 percent protection for the manufactures,” Meyers said. Under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP Act) invoked by the government in February, even experimental COVID vaccines still undergoing clinical trials and granted Emergency Use Authorization only by the Food and Drug Administration are protected from lawsuits until 2024.
Except in the case of “willful misconduct” -- deliberate deception, fraudulent behavior or hiding of relevant information – vaccine makers have total “immunity from liability” under the act. If the pharmaceutical companies say they didn’t expect Bell’s palsy or blood clots or myocarditis, those injuries are not a liability.
Not that the manufacturers of vaccines haven’t been found guilty of willful misconduct in the past. Just three main vaccine makers, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, have been ordered by state and federal courts to pay a combined more than $8.6 billion in fines to resolve dozens of allegations of criminal and civil misconduct.
Pfizer alone was fined $2.3 billion -- the largest such settlement in history, according to the Department of Justice -- for willfully defrauding and misbranding its drugs that had already been yanked from shelves for their documented dangers. But for six whistleblowers who brought evidence forward against the company, it may have continued misbranding and selling its dangerous wares.
“We’ve made a trade-off in America,” said Meyers, in giving vaccine manufacturers liability protection to ensure that they will keep making vaccines that, before legal immunity, were bogged down in lawsuit litigation for side effects.
Manufacturers who make cars or ladders or other products can be sued if they are faulty. Vaccine makers have blanket liability to ensure their products are produced, government funding to produce them, ensured government orders for products, government-paid mass-marketing and mandates.
In Canada and most of the world, pharmaceutical giants have been granted immunity from COVID vaccine lawsuits. Until recently, Canada was one of only a few countries that offered no compensation for vaccine injuries, but it recently introduced a compensation program for COVID vaccine injuries and deaths.
“The tradeoff seems unfair today because the CICP program is such as flawed program,” said Meyers, particularly when vaccine companies are raking in colossal profits (Pfizer is set to haul in $26 billion from its COVID vaccines this year and COVID vaccine manufacturing is churning out billionaires whose annual salaries are multiples of a decade of CICP payouts to dozens of people). The CICP benefits are “stingy compensations,” he added, for people who are suffering and waiting in the face of corporate greed and government opacity.
Notwithstanding the drug companies’ criminal records, Meyers thinks they would be “crazy to risk misconduct.” If it turned out that vaccine makers were actually hiding information on risks of COVID vaccines, he said, “it would be a catastrophe.”
Most vaccine injuries on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention schedule for children are covered under another government program called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). That program, known as “vaccine court,” involves hearings. About 60 percent of cases that find their way to the court negotiate a settlement; VICP has paid out more than $4.5 billion in damages for more than 8,000 children harmed by vaccines that have caused injuries, including death and brain damage from encephalitis, seizures and severe allergic reactions.
“As of 2011, when the U.S. Supreme Court effectively removed all liability from corporations marketing CDC recommended childhood vaccines that are also used by adults, the VICP has made fewer and fewer awards to children harmed by vaccines,” said Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center. “As public health officials begin to target children for mass use of the COVID-19 vaccines, this is important to remember.”
“The old saying "Caveat Emptor" (Let the buyer beware) absolutely applies in this situation, because if a serious COVID-19 vaccine reaction occurs that causes permanent disability or even death, individuals and families need to be prepared to deal with it themselves with no help from the government and no ability to sue vaccine manufacturers,” Fisher said.
While COVID vaccines are still under EUA, they will not be referred to the VICP, but if they become recommended for routine use for pregnant women or children, they will automatically be overseen by the VICP, according to Meyers. New legislation being considered to amend the VICP could see COVID vaccines added to the list, but that may take years if it happens at all.
The VICP itself is “backlogged,” according to vaccine injury lawyer Phyllis Widman, who said her officer is receiving calls about COVID vaccine injuries daily. She is one of a number of lawyers taking information but waiting to file, in which case a torrent of COVID vaccine injury applications may be waiting to flood the system.