Leah Durant | Vaccine Attorney - Vaccine Blog

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Ask the Experts: A Free Government Resource for Learning About Vaccine Safety

When you have questions about getting vaccinated, it is important that you get your questions answered. Typically, this means consulting with your healthcare provider—and it is important to rely on medical advice that is custom-tailored to your (or your child’s) unique health profile and medical history. But, if you are looking for free information online, a good resource is the CDC’s “Ask the Experts” database.

The CDC’s “Ask the Experts” database is a searchable repository of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about getting vaccinated. It contains information about everything from the proper storage protocols for vaccines to how vaccine recipients can assert their legal rights when they experience vaccine-related injuries—which, in most cases, involves filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

Here, vaccine attorney Leah V. Durant highlights some of the questions and answers that are most relevant to vaccine recipients and parents who may need to file claims under the VICP:

Which Vaccines Are Covered Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

The vaccines covered under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program are listed on the Vaccine Injury Table maintained by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Currently, the vaccines listed on the Vaccine Injury Table are those for:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP, DTP, DT, Td and TT)

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

  • Hepatitis A and B (HepA and HepB)

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV and 9vHPV)

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MM, MMR and MMRV)

  • Meningitis (MenB, MCV4, MenACWY-D and MenACWY-CRM)

  • Pneumonia (PPSV23 and PCV13)

  • Polio (IPV and OPV)

  • Rotavirus (RV1 and RV5)

  • Seasonal influenza (IIV3, IIV4, RIV4 and CCIV4)

  • Varicella (VAR and MMRV)

The VICP also covers “[a]ny new vaccine recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for routine administration to children and/or pregnant women, after publication by the Secretary [of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] of a notice of coverage.” However, there are currently no vaccines that fall into this category.

Which Vaccines Aren’t Covered Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

While the VICP covers most of the vaccines that the CDC currently recommends for routine administration in the United States, there are exceptions. For example, COVID-19 vaccines are not currently covered under the VICP, although the “Ask the Experts” database states that, “a transition to the VICP is anticipated in the future.”

Along with the COVID-19 vaccines, other CDC-recommended vaccines that aren’t covered under the VICP include (but are not limited to):

  • Cholera

  • Japanese encephalitis

  • Rabies

  • Shingles

  • Typhoid

  • Yellow fever

Many of these are vaccines that the CDC recommends before traveling outside of the United States (and that are required when traveling to certain countries). Even though these vaccines aren’t covered under the VICP—and even though, like all other CDC-recommended vaccines, they are considered generally safe for most people—they all present health risks. This includes the risk of errors during the immunization process leading to shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (SIRVA).

What Should You Do if You or a Loved One Has Been Diagnosed with an Injury or Illness Linked to a COVID-19 Vaccination?

While COVID-19 vaccines may eventually be covered under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, they currently are not. Instead, they are covered under a different federal program, the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). The costs covered under the CICP are more limited than those covered under the VICP, and vaccine recipients only have one year to file a claim instead of three (or two in the case of a fatal vaccine-related injury or illness covered under the VICP). Even so, for those who need to file claims, doing so can be important for managing the costs of a COVID-19 vaccine-related injury or illness.

Are Healthcare Providers Liable When Vaccination Errors Lead to Vaccine-Related Injuries and Illnesses?

As explained in the CDC’s “Ask the Experts” database, while the VICP provides a source of “no fault” compensation for vaccine recipients and their families (meaning that proof of fault is not required to file a claim), it also provides liability protection for vaccine administrators. As a result, for most individuals and families who are eligible to file claims under the VICP, filing a VICP claim will also be their only option.

This makes it extremely important to do everything you can to maximize your chances of securing a favorable outcome. The VICP has strict requirements for establishing and maintaining eligibility, and claimants must be able to clearly demonstrate how much financial compensation they are entitled to receive under the program. Since the VICP covers claimants’ legal fees separately from their compensation awards, claimants can hire an experienced vaccine attorney to represent them at no cost.

When Can You File a Claim Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

There are three basic eligibility criteria for filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. While eligibility must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, generally speaking, you may be able to file a claim if:

  • You Are an Eligible Person – Individuals who are eligible to file VICP claims include: (i) individuals who received covered vaccines (those listed on the Vaccine Injury Table); (ii) parents and legal guardians of children and disabled adults who received covered vaccines; and, (iii) personal representatives of individuals who died after receiving a covered vaccine.

  • You (or Your Loved One) has Been Diagnosed with an Eligible Vaccine Injury – To qualify for compensation under the VICP, a vaccine-related injury or illness must: (i) last more than six months from the date of vaccination; (ii) require inpatient hospitalization and surgical intervention; or, (iii) result in death.  

  • You Still Have Time to File a VICP Claim – For claims involving non-fatal vaccine injuries and illnesses, the deadline to file is three years from the first symptom or other manifestation of onset. For claims involving fatal vaccine injuries and illnesses, the deadline is two years from the date of death in most cases.

Request a Free VICP Consultation with Vaccine Attorney Leah V. Durant

If you need to know more about filing a VICP claim, we invite you to get in touch. Please call 202-800-1711 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with vaccine attorney Leah V. Durant.


Leah Durant Bio

Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.

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