The national program that allows Canadians to report serious and permanent injuries after receiving a Health Canada-authorized vaccine—including COVID-19 vaccines—has released new figures on how many people have reported and requested compensation.
The Vaccine Injury Support Program, which was announced by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) last December and officially launched in June, has received 400 claims of vaccine-related injury, with fewer than five having been approved by the end of November.
According to the program, 387 of the claims have been assigned to a case manager, and 64 are inadmissible due to claimants not meeting the eligibility criteria or submitting incomplete information. So far, 323 of the claims have been considered admissible.
As to what constitutes a serious and permanent injury, the program defines it 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.”
To be eligible for compensation, the claimants must also have experienced the vaccine injury after receiving their COVID-19 shots in Canada on or after Dec. 8, 2020.
Of the admissible filings, 127 are pending “preliminary medical review” by a physician to decide if additional medical records of the claimants are required. For the 196 claims that have completed the preliminary medical review, 189 are in the process of medical records collection.
“Each health care provider is contacted individually in order to retrieve relevant medical records. This is often the longest step in the claims assessment process,” the program notes on its website.
The figures show five claims are considered complete and are awaiting review by the Medical Review Board made up of physicians with relevant experience who will assess whether there is an association between the injury and the vaccine.
The program also reported that fewer than five claims have been assessed and approved by the Medical Review Board. It said that the board may decide if more information or time is required to properly assess the claims.
Should a probable link between the injury and the vaccine be established, the program, independently administered by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Consulting on behalf of PHAC, said any compensation paid to Canadians due to vaccine injury will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and retroactive from the date of the injury.
Due to privacy reasons, the amount of compensation paid out will not be disclosed “until a sufficient number of cases ensures anonymity of claimants,” according to the program’s website.
The next round of public reporting will be available once anonymity can be ensured, but “no later than June 1, 2022,” the website said.