By: Dilina Lallani

Vaccine compensation schemes have been around for decades. They exist in 20 countries across the globe to compensate individuals for adverse events resulting from vaccine administration. No-fault vaccine injury compensation programs relieve pharmaceutical companies from liability and have the effect of increasing vaccine roll-outs and address vaccine hesitancy. 

Vaccine Compensation in Canada

Until this year, Quebec was the only province in Canada with a vaccine compensation program. Quebec’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was implemented in 1988 following a diagnosis of viral encephalitis in a five-year-old girl after being administered the measles vaccine. The program compensates individuals who experience serious adverse reactions to immunizations. Since its implementation in 1988, 284 claims have been submitted and 53 were accepted, providing a total of $653,000,000 in compensation. Claimants are eligible if they received a vaccine in Quebec and suffered a bodily injury as a result, including serious and permanent physical or mental injuries or death. Claims are evaluated based on causality between the extent of the injury and the vaccine.

COVAX No-Fault Compensation Program

In February 2021, the World Health Organization implemented the first global vaccine injury compensation scheme in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This COVAX No-Fault Compensation Program provides a lump sum monetary compensation to claimants who experienced serious adverse effects or death from a COVID-19 vaccine, including the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. The program is available to eligible claimants in 92 low to middle-income countries. It is anticipated that the program will reduce legal recourse related to adverse effects resulting from vaccines. The program also may enable manufacturers to roll out vaccines faster and benefit low-income governments receiving vaccines through COVAX facilities. 

Vaccine Injury Support Program (VISP)

Canadians have been urging the government for decades to implement a vaccine compensation scheme in Canada. On December 10, 2020, the federal government and Public Health Agency of Canada announced the implementation of the Vaccine Injury Support Program (VISP). This pan-Canadian no-fault vaccine injury scheme provides financial support to Canadians who experience serious and permanent injuries or death resulting from Health Canada-administered vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines. In this scheme, the Government of Canada will assume liability for injuries and deaths caused by vaccine administration and therefore protects vaccine manufacturers from legal action. These compensation schemes may instill public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and contribute to achieving herd immunity.

VISP is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and is administered by a third party, RCGT Consulting. All claims are reviewed by three physicians who review claimants’ medical documentation to examine causality between the injury and vaccine. RCGT is now accepting claims.

Claimants can be compensated for:

·      Income replacement

·      Injury

·      Death benefits

·      Compensation for funeral expenses

·      Reimbursement of eligible costs, including uncovered medical expenses

Eligibility criteria is as follows:

·      The injured person received a Health Canada authorized vaccine on or after December 8, 2020

·      The injury was serious and permanent or resulted in death

·      The claim is filed within three years following the date of vaccination, date when the injury becomes first apparent, or date of death

·      The injury was reported to a health care provider

·      The vaccine was administered in Canada (the injured person does not have to be a Canadian citizen)

For more information on eligibility and the compensation process, please visit https://vaccineinjurysupport.ca/en

If you were vaccinated in Quebec and want to learn more, please visit https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/advice-and-prevention/vaccination/vaccine-injury-compensation-program#c3902

About MyOpenCourt

MyOpenCourt was born from an observation: Most cases are too simple for hiring a lawyer, but too complicated to resolve without one. For many of us it does not make financial sense to hire a lawyer, not only because the costs are so high, but because the legal fees could be even higher than the amount of money we might win in court. This is probably why 86% of Canadians looking for legal assistance choose not to hire a lawyer.

We believe that data science research can make a difference. While a computer algorithm can’t replace good legal skills, data science can help all Canadians determine whether they have a case and reach out to the right lawyer for help.

We’re currently working on developing a new tool to streamline the vaccine injury claims process in North America. To learn more, visit https://myopencourt.org/.