EXCLUSIVE: Senator Demands Answers From Government on COVID-19 Vaccine Injury Compensation

A U.S. senator is demanding answers from U.S. officials on compensation to people who were injured by COVID-19 vaccines.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), ranking member of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, asked for key details on the U.S. compensation scheme, including how much each person who has been compensated requested.

The government recently paid three people who were injured by the vaccines, marking the first time payments were rendered for the COVID vaccines. But the highest payout was just $2,019.

Johnson is also asking whether the government has advertised the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), the only venue for federal compensation; whether officials expect an increase in claims in light of how many injury reports have been logged with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, and how much money injured people are eligible for under the program.

The Republican outlined the requested information in a letter to Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Carole Johnson, the administrator of the Health and Resources Administration (HRSA).

HHS and HRSA did not respond to requests for comment.

“Although the government appears to be providing very limited compensation to individuals who have filed COVID-19 vaccine injury claims, the process by which HHS evaluates these claims or even advertises the existence of this compensation program remains opaque,” Johnson told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

“HHS owes the American people a complete explanation of its administration of the compensation program for individuals who have suffered COVID-19 vaccine injuries,” he added.

An office inside HHS, HRSA administers the CICP. The program covers the COVID-19 vaccines because the Trump administration early in the COVID-19 pandemic made a declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act that shields manufacturers and others, such as vaccine administrators, from liability. The Biden administration has extended the declaration.

All people who are or believe they were injured by a COVID-19 vaccine or another countermeasure can apply to the CICP for compensation for unreimbursed medical expenses and lost employment income. People whose family members died from an injury can ask for survivor benefits.

According to the HRSA, a person must prove a “causal connection” between a vaccine and a serious injury or death. The connection must be supported by “compelling, reliable, valid, medical and scientific evidence.”

As of April 1, 11,425 COVID-19 applications have been filed, many for alleged vaccine injuries. Just 22 have been deemed eligible for compensation, and no compensation had been given until recently. Another 684 have been denied.

While a similar program, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, has judges decide on injury cases, the CICP features HRSA administrators deciding on applications.