The facts: During the last year of the Trump Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) quietly attempted to remove SIRVA – shoulder injury related to vaccine administration – from the list of “table injuries” used by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
Since SIRVA accounts for over 60 percent of the vaccine injury claims that flow through the VICP, this would have been a terrible blow to those seeking lost wages and other compensation for this debilitating and painful arm injury. During January, however, the Biden Administration put a freeze on all non-finalized Trump rules, and in mid-March a notice was posted withdrawing that final rule that would have bumped SIRVA off the vaccine injury table.
Why it’s still important to comment: Although it appears that SIRVA will continue to be an allowed table injury as far as the VICP is concerned, it’s vital to make sure that the HHS knows that the public supports this outcome and is adamant about not limiting vaccine injury claims any further than they are now.
How to Comment
- Go to the FDA page to submit comments: https://www.regulations.gov/document/HRSA-2021-0001-0032.
- Click on the blue box on the upper left that says “Comment.”
- Share why it is important to ensure that SIRVA injuries remain eligible for injury compensation. Please do it soon – the comment period will be ending on April 16th.
Does this apply to SIRVA injuries from COVID-19 vaccines? No, COVID shot claims are handled by another program called the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) that bizarrely never included SIRVA in its list of “table injuries” from pandemic shots. (To learn more read “Why Don’t the Feds Want to Shoulder the Blame for SIRVA Vaccine Injuries?” and “Compensation for Victims of Pandemic Vaccine Injuries Likely to Vanish into ‘Black Hole’ Federal Program.”)
What is a “table injury?” Whether something is or isn’t considered a table injury is a big deal. To bring a case for a table injury you only need to prove “more likely than not” that you suffered the injury listed on the table – as long as the onset occurs within the time period specified. Medical records often suffice as the only evidence needed.
What is SIRVA? This excruciating shoulder injury, which can severely limit the mobility of the affected arm, is caused by injecting a vaccine into the shoulder capsule instead of the deltoid muscle. Shots that trigger SIRVA are typically done too high on the arm.
What is the VICP? The VICP is a special court established in 1986 that allowed pharma to have sweeping liability protection for injuries from certain vaccines (including flu shots).
Why is this rule now being rescinded? While it would be nice to think the HHS has seen the error of its ways in attempting to ditch SIRVA table injuries, it appears – by their own words –that the agency doesn’t want any negative press regarding vaccine injuries to slow down the efforts to get everyone in the U.S. vaccinated with one of the COVID-19 shots. Here’s what was stated in the official notice:
Although the COVID-19 vaccine is not part of the VICP, HHS is cognizant of the fact that any action taken that concerns administration of other vaccines could impact the National Strategy’s goals and affect the federal government’s efforts to combat COVID-19. It is partially due to this unprecedented vaccination effort and the concern that the final rule’s revisions to the Table could negatively impact the vaccine administrators carrying out this massive campaign that HHS proposes to rescind the final rule.
However you interpret that, or whatever your feelings are regarding the COVID shot or vaccines in general, adding your comment is still extremely important!