Vaccine Injury Law Project | IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

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Posted on in Vaccine Information

On January 21, 2021, Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule in the Federal Register that changes a key part of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) addressing how shoulder injuries following vaccination, as well as vasovagal syncope, are dealt with in the Program.

While vaccine injuries are considered to be rare, shoulder injuries following vaccination are among the most common vaccine adverse events and so in 2017, the Vaccine Injury Table was amended to add Shoulder-Injury-Related-to-Vaccine-Administration (SIRVA) to the Table.

By adding SIRVA to the Table, these claims were intended to be resolved in a more timely and efficient manner compared to causation-in-fact vaccine injury claims which often require the retention of medical experts as part of a years long litigative process culminating in an in-person hearing before a Special Master in Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately, the new rule, which goes into effect on February 22, 2021, removes both SIRVA, and vasovagal syncope, from the Table.

Inevitably, these sorts of injuries will continue to occur, but absent action by HHS, claims for these injuries will have to be filed as “causation-in-fact” claims. As a result, petitioners will likely face a more difficult and time-consuming process, including potentially needing to secure medical experts and go before a Judge (called a “Special Master”) for a trial that would not likely occur until years after their initial injury.

The reasons for the removal of SIRVA and vasovagal syncope are profoundly unpersuasive and managing attorney of the Vaccine Injury Law Project and IIT Chicago-Kent Clinical Professor, Ed Kraus, submitted a detailed and reasoned comment setting forth several reasons why the then proposed rule, now a finalized rule, would be harmful to the vaccine injured, the efficient workings of the vaccine injury program and against the interests of the American public. We link to that letter here.

If you, or someone you love, has suffered a SIRVA injury or vasovagal syncope, please give us a call so that we can discuss your options prior to the removal of these injuries from the Table on February 22, 2021.

US Court of Federal Claims American Bar Association
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