By: Ari Derohanesian
As the number of people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine increases, a question on the minds of many is what compensation is available to those who experience serious adverse reactions. Depending on the region someone lives in and where they received the vaccine, they may be eligible for no-fault vaccine compensation if they experience serious adverse effects.
What is no-fault vaccine compensation?
A no-fault vaccine compensation scheme is a program that offers eligible individuals, who have experienced adverse effects from a vaccine, injury compensation. Eligibility to receive compensation may vary based on each region’s program and may, for example, require the adverse effects to be serious and permanent. Certain programs may offer compensation in a lump sum cash payment, while others may offer partial payments over time.
What vaccine compensation program is offered in Canada?
In December of 2020, the Canadian government announced a plan for a no-fault vaccine compensation scheme that would apply to all Canadian’s called the Vaccine Injury Support Program. Quebec already had a program for vaccine injury compensation, so people who receive their vaccine in Quebec are eligible for coverage under the Quebec plan, rather than the Vaccine Injury Support Program. According to the Vaccine Injury Support Program website, “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 question of what constitutes a serious and permanent injury is addressed on the Vaccine Injury Support Program’s Frequently Asked Questions page which 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.”
How are claims reviewed?
The Vaccine Injury Support Program is being administered by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Consulting. A committee of three physicians will review the medical records of a claimant to assess if there is a probable link between the vaccine and the injury.
The severity and duration of injury will also be assessed to determine the types of compensation awarded to injured parties. The amount of compensation may include income replacement and injury indemnities, death benefits, funeral expenses, and reimbursement of other eligible costs and is determined on a case by case basis. Claimants may appeal denied applications. The appeal process includes a review by a committee of different physicians from those who made the initial decision on an application.
What is the COVID-19 vaccines global access (COVAX) program?
In February 2021, the World Health Organization with Chubb Limited on behalf of the COVAX Facility agreed to the administration of a no-fault vaccine compensation program. The program applies to ninety-two low- and middle-income countries.
This is the first-ever global no-fault vaccine injury compensation scheme and offers lump-sum payments to compensate for eligible vaccine-related injuries. The types of injuries covered by this program include with exceptions “serious bodily injuries or illness that is suffered or sustained by a patient and that:
- Requires hospitalization or prolongs an existing hospitalization; and
- Results in permanent total or partial impairment; or
- Is a congenital birth injury or illness in an unborn or new-born child of a woman who received a vaccine and results in permanent total or partial impairment; or
- Results in death.”
MyOpenCourt: The Vaccine Mediator Tool
MyOpenCourt has developed the Vaccine Mediator tool, which uses AI-powered technology to predict whether a person qualifies for the Vaccine Injury Support Program. The tool will ask users to enter information about their vaccination and about any adverse reactions they may have experienced. This is then used to predict if the user qualifies for Canada’s Vaccine Injury Support Program. To learn more, visit the tool here.
The MyOpenCourt Vaccine Mediator Tool can be used to assist anyone who experienced adverse reactions to the vaccine, including those resulting from a booster shot.
 https://www.who.int/news/item/22-02-2021-no-fault-compensation-programme-for-covid-19-vaccines-is-a-world-first [WHO]
 https://vaccineinjurysupport.ca/en/faq#eligibility [VISP]
 Canada, Supra note 1.
 Supra note 6.
 WHO, Supra note 2.