Covid-19 Vaccine Injuries — Preventing Inequities in Compensation


Vaccine injuries can disproportionately affect vulnerable populations who are most in need of vaccinations but are also at risk of financial ruin if harmed by a vaccine. The article compares the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which covers the majority of vaccines administered in the U.S., with the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), which applies to vaccines given as countermeasures during public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The CICP is far less generous and accessible than the VICP. The article analyzes the CICP’s ramifications for disadvantaged populations, including exacerbation of health disparities and vaccine hesitancy. Additionally, the paper proposes legal changes to promote adequate and equitable compensation for all vaccine injuries. Specifically, it argues that the PREP Act should be amended to require that all vaccines given as countermeasures during a public health emergency be added to the VICP. Furthermore, the PREP Act should mandate that manufacturers pay a 75-cent excise tax on each vaccine dose given during a public health emergency to help finance the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund.


vaccines, public health emergencies, vaccine hesitancy, health disparities, disadvantaged populations, PREP Act, National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program.

Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Information

384 New England Journal of Medicine e34 (2021)

This document is currently not available here.