By: Ari Derohanesian
Vaccine compensation schemes offer compensation for those who experience serious adverse effects to a vaccine. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada and other nations instituted no-fault vaccine injury compensation programs. The program in Canada is called the Vaccine Injury Support Program. In other eligible countries a program is available via the Gavi COVAX Advanced Market Commitment.
What vaccine injury compensation program is offered in Canada?
The Vaccine Injury Support Program applies to people vaccinated anywhere in Canada, except those vaccinated in Quebec. According to the Vaccine Injury Support Program website, the program offers eligible individuals “income replacement indemnities; injury indemnities; death benefits; coverage of funeral expenses; reimbursement of eligible costs such as otherwise uncovered medical expenses.” The amount of compensation offered to eligible individuals is determined on a case-by-case basis and uses a payment framework that aligns with that of the Quebec Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Quebec has its own vaccine injury compensation program, offering compensation for injuries resulting from a range of different vaccines. Under the Quebec program applications for compensation are evaluated by a committee of three physicians and applications must be filed within three years of the date of vaccination or date of death.
What are the eligibility requirements for compensation under Canada’s program?
The eligibility criteria for compensation under the Vaccine Injury Support Program is addressed on the Vaccine Injury Support Program website which states “All of the below criteria must be met in order to submit a successful claim:
- Authorized Vaccine: Any person receiving a Health Canada authorized vaccine
- Time Frame: Claims can be filed within three years after the date of vaccination, date of death or date when an injury first becomes apparent
- Injury Reported: Injury reported to health care provider
- Eligibility Date: Date of vaccination was on or after December 8, 2020
- Administered in Canada: The vaccine was administered in Canada (exceptions apply)
- Serious and Permanent: The injury is serious and permanent or has resulted in death”
The Frequently Asked Questions page of the Vaccine Injury Support Program website states “A serious and permanent injury is defined as a severe, life-threatening or life-altering injury that may require in-person hospitalization, or a prolongation of existing hospitalization, and results in persistent or significant disability or incapacity, or where the outcome is a congenital malformation or death.” Citizenship is not an eligibility requirement for the Vaccine Injury Support Program, but aside from exceptions for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Government of Canada officials and their dependants posted outside Canada, the vaccine must have been administered in Canada.
How are claims reviewed in Canada?
Claims under the Vaccine Injury Support Program are reviewed by three physicians who determine whether there is a probable link between the vaccine and the injury. Documents required from an applicant and physician who assesses an injury for the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program include: “physician contact information, patient contact information, details specific to the vaccine, the report of the first medical consultation, and patient medical history.” The Vaccine Injury Support Program is independently administered and delivered by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada are not involved in the decisions of individual claims.
COVID-19 vaccines global access (COVAX) program
The COVAX No-Fault Compensation Program for Advance Market Commitment Eligible Economies offers eligible individuals who suffer injures from the COVID-19 vaccine no-fault compensation. This program is the first international compensation scheme and offers compensation to individuals in ninety-two low- and middle-income countries. Eligible individuals who experience serious adverse effects from the vaccine may be entitled to lump sum compensation through this program.
MyOpenCourt: The Vaccine Mediator Tool
The MyOpenCourt website includes a variety of tools and resources that can help individuals learn about legal issues. The Vaccine Mediator tool, developed by MyOpenCourt, uses artificial intelligence to predict if an individual qualifies for compensation under the Vaccine Injury Support Program or other vaccine injury compensation programs. The tool is a self-reporting system where users are prompted to enter information about the vaccine they received and any reactions they experienced. Questions about symptoms include the severity of symptoms experienced and the impact those symptoms have had on the user’s day-to-day life. This information is used to predict if the user qualifies for compensation under Canada’s Vaccine Injury Support Program.
Disclaimer: This article provides information of a general nature only. It does not provide legal advice nor can it or should it be relied upon. All scenarios are specific to their facts and will differ from the situations in the articles. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer.
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