Vaccine Injury Compensation
Smallpox Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Emergency Personnel Protection Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-20, 117
Stat. 638) authorized the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) to establish the Smallpox Vaccine Injury
Compensation Program (the Program). The Program was appropriated
$42 million to provide medical, lost employment income, and death
include smallpox vaccine recipients, unvaccinated individuals injured
after coming into contact with a vaccinated individual or with a
second person with whom the vaccinated person had contact (“vaccinia
contacts”), estates, and survivors.
and Lost Employment Income Benefits
benefits are for past, current and future medical services and supplies
needed to diagnose or treat the medical injury.
income benefits are for the number of lost work days without employment
income, subject to the following formula: if there are 10 or fewer
lost work days without employment income, the Secretary will subtract
5 from the total number; otherwise, all of the days of lost employment
income are counted. The payments for medical benefits or lost employment
income are secondary to payments paid by or due from companies or
programs such as health insurance companies and workers’ compensation
To be considered
for medical benefits or lost employment income benefits, an individual
must document that he/she is a:
vaccine recipient” who is or was a member of an HHS-approved
HHS, State, or local smallpox emergency response plan (the Plan);
was a health care worker, law enforcement officer, firefighter,
security personnel, emergency medical personnel, other public
safety personnel, or support personnel of such occupational specialties;
received a smallpox vaccination as part of the Plan between Jan.
24, 2003, and Jan. 23, 2004; and sustained a medical injury covered
by the Program from the smallpox vaccine or other covered countermeasures
(e.g., cidofovir or vaccine immune globulin); or
contact” who sustained a medical injury from exposure
to the virus in the smallpox vaccine through physical contact
between January 24, 2003, and February 22, 2004, with a smallpox
vaccine recipient (who may have been injured or not) or with a
person with whom a vaccinated person had contact; or
of an estate of a smallpox vaccine recipient or vaccinia contact
who died prior to receiving benefits under the Program.
must document the basis for their request for benefits. This includes
all medical and lost employment income benefits that they have received
or to which they are entitled, and the number of days of lost employment
income. This documentation must be provided before the Secretary
can determine the amount of benefits.
Program offers death benefits to survivors of smallpox vaccine recipients
or vaccinia contacts who died as a direct result of exposure to
the virus in the smallpox vaccine. The categories of survivors include:
3. minor dependent
4. beneficiary in the latest executed life insurance policy
6. legal guardian of a deceased, eligible minor.
The death benefits
may be secondary to other benefits.
must submit their Request Forms within one year of having received
the smallpox vaccination.
contacts must submit their Request Forms within two years
of the onset of their symptoms resulting from vaccinia exposure.
and estates have the same filing deadlines as the individuals
on whose behalf they are submitting Request Forms.
do not have to submit all medical and payment information with the
Request Forms in order to meet the filing deadline.
An interim final
rule describing the Program’s administrative policies and procedures,
published in the Federal Register on December 16, 2003,
contains details on eligibility requirements, the process for requesting
benefits and receiving payments, and the administrative process
for running the Program.