By Dorit Rubinstein Reiss
If COVID-19 vaccines lead to any serious harms, society should compensate those victims generously and quickly.
Currently, under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers and providers are immune from liability.
Anyone seeking compensation for a severe side effect from a COVID-19 vaccine needs to go through a government program that is extremely narrow and hard to win; the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). The program requires “compelling, reliable, valid, medical and scientific evidence” to be compensated — a very high bar. It has compensated only a very small percentage of claims submitted over the years.
But we have an alternative. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) provides compensation under a much more generous standard. It has been used for years for childhood vaccines, and has served us well. While not perfect, it offers a decent path forward.