Despite the concern, the actual number of people who have filed a claim requesting reimbursement for vaccine-related problems is extremely low.
It’s called the Countermeasure Injury Compensation Program (CICP). It operated for more than a decade in secret. But so many people were being treated for COVID, 11Alive Investigates went to lawmakers and the government agency involved demanding more transparency.
Out of nearly 600 million COVID-19 vaccine shots given in the U.S, 5,764 people filed a claim alleging a vaccine injury.
Most of those don’t detail the problem, but the top ones listed included Guillain-Barre Syndrome, blood clots, myocarditis and allergic reaction.
So far, the CICP denied 31 of those claims. It approved one for an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine. The rest remain under review.
It's unclear how much someone might get in compensation if their case is approved. The CICP does not pay for pain and suffering. It only covers tangible costs associated with the injury such as your co-pay on a medical bill or income due to missing work.
While researching the CICP, 11Alive Investigates talked with Doctor Vito Caserta, who served as director of the program until his retirement.
“The way Congress wrote the law that created the program, the evidence needs to be compelling," Caserta said. "And compelling is a high level of evidence."
While people only have one year from the date of their injury to file a claim, Dr. Caserta said it can take several years for the CICP to gather all of the medical records and decide whether the injury is related.
“We'll probably be really slow and wait for that science to come forward and be developed,” he said. “We're not going to deny that case until that evidence is developed. But, if we see there's no evidence after months or years of gathering the records, then we will move forward because we don't want to hold these cases forever."
The CICP won’t reveal which brand of vaccine is associated with the alleged injury. Other treatments used to fight COVID, like ventilators and prescription drugs, are also eligible for the program.