Photo of law buildingBack on July 20, 2020, HHS published a Notice of Proposed Rule-Making (NPRM) proposing to amend the Vaccine Injury Table in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). This proposed rule aimed to remove an injury called SIRVA (Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration), vasovagal syncope, and the “new vaccine” category.

HHS faced fierce opposition from the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV), the Vaccine Injured Petitioner’s Bar Association (VIP Bar), hundreds of current and past petitioners, and other interested parties (HHS received over 760 comments). Despite this opposition, on January 12, 2021, HHS closed the comment period for its NPRM.

On January 20, 2021, President Biden’s chief of staff issued a memorandum instructed federal agencies to “freeze” any pending rules so that they could be reviewed by the incoming administration.  The final rule was published the next day on January 21, 2021, with an effective date of February 22, 2021.

On February 19, 2021, HHS published a new rule which delayed the original NPRM’s effective date until April 23, 2021. And that’s where things have been for the last month.

HHS IS NOW WITHDRAWING SIRVA RULE CHANGE FROM VICP

However, most recently, HHS has proposed a new rule rescinding the original NPRM to remove SIRVA, vasovagal syncope, and the new vaccines category.

This is great news. Since February of last year, this has been a constant source of frustration and worry for our office.  This change, if permanent, will ensure that anyone who is unfortunate enough to experience a SIRVA injury has proper and efficient recourse in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

The other important aspect of this rescission is the “new vaccines category” of the Table.  Keeping that provision ensures that any new vaccine that is added to the Table automatically includes coverage for SIRVA and vasovagal syncope injuries.  This would obviously become important, should any of the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently in production be added to the Table.

How to Comment on The New Proposal

We are not stopping here. The proposal to rescind the original rule is now open for public comment until April 16, 2021.  As we did before, our office will be publishing a comment in support of HHS’s proposal to rescind its original rule.

We encourage all of our clients, regardless of their injury, to comment on the proposal as well.  Public comments can be submitted via the Federal Register website here. 

Should you have any questions about this process, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Please also consider attending our upcoming webinar on Understanding the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which will be broadcast via Zoom on April 16th, 2021 at 10:00 AM Central Time. You can register here.

Since this started back in July of last year, we continue to help people with SIRVA cases, and we will not stop now. If you believe you have experienced a SIRVA injury or any other vaccine injury, please call us at (312) 578-9501 or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page to set up a free consultation.

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