Monday, November 9, 2009

What if you "suffer specified injuries" from a Swine Flu countermeasure?

Sorry for repeating myself regarding this new method of dealing with injuries, but this is what the US government (DHHS) says:
The PREP Act also authorizes a fund to provide compensation to eligible individuals who suffer specified injuries from administration or use of a countermeasure pursuant to the declaration. Any requests for compensation must be filed within one year of administration or use of the countermeasure...Again, the PREP Act is the exclusive Federal remedy for certain H1N1 countermeasure-related injuries.
"Exclusive remedy" means you will have no access to the US courts to sue for damages, nor access to any other federal compensation. The maximum amount of compensation for a death or total disability is about $300,000. In September, $14 million had been allocated to a DHHS compensation fund. DHHS will be the decider re whether you have an injury caused by a "covered countermeasure" and how much compensation the injury is worth. If dissatisfied with DHHS' answer, you may only appeal to another DHHS office.

My read of the word "certain" as in "
exclusive Federal remedy for certain H1N1 countermeasure-related injuries" is that it means certain injuries are compensable, but others may not be eligible for any compensation, since the PREP Act precludes any other avenues.

The US government provides additional information here. Who has received a waiver of liability in the event of injury from swine flu vaccines or drugs?
  • Manufacturers of countermeasures;
  • Distributors of countermeasures;
  • Program planners of countermeasures (i.e., individuals and entities involved in planning and administering programs for distribution of a countermeasure);
  • Qualified persons who prescribe, administer, or dispense countermeasures (i.e., healthcare and other providers); and
  • The United States.
Why did so many health care facilities, all at once, demand mandatory vaccinations of employees? Maybe it was because the DHHS was providing a strong "behind the scenes" push:
HRSA grantees should strongly encourage health care workers to receive the Novel H1N1 vaccination. Grantees should employ strategies to increase the rates of vaccination for their health care personnel such as waiving administration fees for health care personnel, providing educational materials (such as Vaccine Information Statements; see Item #16), sending reminder messages, holding informational staff meetings, monitoring employee participation in the vaccination initiative, and employing declination forms such as the one at .

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