A pair of federal programs created for compensating people who suffer injuries from vaccines and pandemic treatments are now facing so many claims that thousands of people may not receive payment for their injuries for several years—if ever.
The first program, meant for standard vaccines, such as measles and polio, has too little staff to handle the number of reported injuries, and thousands of patients are waiting years for their cases to be heard.
A second program designed for vaccines and other treatments created or used during pandemics has seen unsustainable growth. Between 2010 and 2020, the Countermeasure Injury Compensation Program received 500 complaints. In the two years since COVID-19 appeared, it has received over 8,000 complaints.
More than 5,000 of those are directly related to the COVID-19 vaccines, with injuries ranging from a sore shoulder to death, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. An additional 3,000 complaints related to everything from drugs and devices to the failure of hospital staff to limit infection spread have also been filed.
Yet the pandemic fund has paid zero claims.
“The cost of this program failing will be like throwing kerosene on the antivax fire,” said Renee Gentry, director of George Washington University’s Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic.