On June 10, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced bipartisan legislation that would add Covid-19 vaccines to the injury compensation court established in the 1980s. The legislation is called the Vaccine Access Improvement Act. If the legislation passes, people who have been injured by a Covid-19 vaccine should have a better chance of obtaining compensation than they do now.
Early on in this pandemic, a Trump administration rule barred those injured by any Covid-19 vaccine from accessing the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Instead, those injured had to seek compensation through the rarely-used Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), which is a different, separate fund run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The problem with that program is, rarely does anyone receive an award. If they do, it is usually smaller than an award received through the VICP. Also, the CICP provides a shorter time period to file your claim and does not pay attorney fees, so getting help to file a claim is difficult.
Bloomberg reported that adding new vaccines to the VICP requires either an act of Congress, or a notice and rulemaking process—which can often be lengthy. A bill by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) would make that process easier by giving the Department of Health and Human Services authority to add to the list of eligible shots.
The number of Covid-19 vaccine complications appears relatively low. In the U.S., severe allergic reactions to the shots occurred in about two to five people per million, according to the CDC.
Currently, it is unclear how much support the Vaccine Access Improvement Act has in the House or Senate. But it is a bill worth keeping an eye on if you have been injured by the Covid-19 vaccine.