RealNews

Bush proposes compensation fund for those injured by smallpox vaccine

After months of delay, the Bush administration is proposing a compensation fund for people injured by the smallpox vaccine, trying to plug the most prominent hole in its inoculation program. The proposal, which Congress would have to approve, is based on a similar compensation package now available to police officers and firefighters injured on the job. Under the plan, the government would pay $262,100 for each person who dies or is permanently and totally disabled by the vaccine. Those less severely injured could receive up to $50,000 plus medical expenses. The vaccine, effective in preventing the transmission of the highly contagious disease, carries rare but serious risks, including death. Smallpox was declared eradicated globally in 1980, but there is fear it could return in an act of bioterrorism. The plan announced Wednesday by the Health and Human Services Department would compensate people who are being asked to participate in the vaccination program – as many as 10.5 million health care workers and emergency responders. The fund also would cover people injured because they came into contact with a vaccinated worker. Full Story

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