The Vaccine Injury Support Program (VISP) has received 1,299 claims and paid out nearly $2.8 million in compensation to vaccine-injured Canadians, since it was established by the federal government during the pandemic, according to new figures published this month.
Fifty injury claims of a serious and permanent nature, out of a total of 221 reviewed, have been considered by a medical review board and approved for compensation, based on a “probable link between the injury and the vaccine.”
Exactly $2,779,277 has been paid out for severe injuries since the program began accepting claims for vaccine injuries on June 1, 2021, and the statistics include the time frame up until Dec. 1, 2022.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), as of Dec. 9, there have been 53,064 adverse events reported following a COVID-19 shot, with 10,519 of those reported as serious and 42,545 logged as not serious.
Another 18 cases have filed appeals citing an unfavourable decision based on either a dispute about the vaccine’s role in causing the injury or the severity of the injury.
The review board is made up of three independent physicians and VISP states these doctors have no link to Health Canada or PHAC.
There are 23 claims currently received but waiting for review by a case manager, and 209 claims that have not met the program’s eligibility criteria or were incomplete. All individuals who submit a claim must allow their medical records to be obtained by the program, which VISP states is the longest stage of the process. There are currently 662 files awaiting records to be provided.
Another 48 claims, with personal identifying information removed, are waiting to be studied by the medical review board.
A claim takes around 12 to 18 months on average to be processed.
The program states that determining if an injury is caused by a vaccine is based on “internationally recognized causality assessment protocols, standards, and existing frameworks, such as those established by Québec’s Vaccine Injury Compensation program and the World Health Organization (WHO).”
Quebec residents have their own program which was established in 1985. Quebec implemented a provincial compensation program for vaccine injuries after a five-year-old girl developed viral encephalitis after receiving a measles vaccine in 1979. It took until 1985 to get the program up and running.
A serious and permanent injury is defined by VISP 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.”
Financial support payments include income replacement, injury payments, death benefits, coverage for funeral expenses, and reimbursement of medical expenses, with no cap on financial support.
The program offers no-fault payment to anyone who received a Health Canada-approved shot, whether a Canadian citizen or not, that was subsequently injured by any vaccine, including COVID shots, but only after Dec. 8, 2020.
The first COVID shot was authorized in Canada one day later, on Dec. 9, 2020, for those aged 16 and older. A messenger mRNA shot made by Pfizer-BioNTech, which requires storage at freezer temperatures, was the first brought to market.
AstraZeneca was approved for use in Canada on Feb. 6, 2021, with Health Canada stating “Overall, there are no important safety concerns, and the vaccine was well tolerated by participants.” The Canadian government purchased 22 million doses.
Moderna was approved and brought into Canada around Dec. 23, 2021, on dry ice to keep the shots at the -20 Celcius temperature required.
By March 29, 2021, Canada had announced it was suspending AstraZeneca shots for anyone under 55 based on safety concerns, following reports of potentially fatal blood clots in Europe.