Open applications for federal vaccine injury compensation

The federal government began accepting applications for the vaccine injury support program last week, but some people diagnosed with rare but severe conditions after their vaccination aren’t sure they’ll be paid enough.

Severe side effects are extremely rare among the millions of doses administered in Canada this year. But they are possible with any vaccine, and this new program is not just the COVID-19 shot, even other vaccinations.

To be eligible, a person must receive a vaccine approved by Health Canada in Canada and be diagnosed with “severe and permanent injury.”

But what if someone is seriously injured and can’t work for a while, but later recovers a few months later? Does that qualify for help?

Murry Hellekson is optimistic.

Prior to being vaccinated with COVID at a pharmacy near his home in Edson, Alta., He was a healthy 49-year-old doing physical work at a local lumber mill. After a few weeks, she began to feel and struggle. His arms and legs lost strength.

BANTAYAN | Recovery from GBS:

Matthew Dawe who was working to regain his strength after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome after his COVID-19 vaccination. 0:15

Alarmed, he traveled several places in his local ER before he was pointed out by neurologists in Edmonton that he was eventually diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a unique neurological condition in which the body’s immune system is triggered. attack its nerves. If left untreated, it can cause paralysis.

“I’ve never had anything like this in my life,” he said. Fearing that he might not make it, he began phoning family members.

His wife Jennifer Donovan also has to dedicate work to take care of him.

“Watching your partner from the heavy man, always go, even if you can’t walk. It’s all on your mind,” he said.

After five days in the hospital, Hellekson returned home. But he could not work for four to six months – just because he did it right, heeded the government’s call and was vaccinated.

“I think the government should have your back,” he said.

His hands and legs remained numb, and he had to walk with a cane. “Some people never recover from it completely,” he said, but he remains hopeful he can finish it.

15 cases so far

Matthew Dawe, 40, was walking his dog in Calgary about ten days after receiving his AstraZeneca vaccine when his feet tingled. Within hours, he was in an ER, slowly losing function in various parts of his body.

Health care workers didn’t immediately recognize what was wrong-for a while, they even thought it could be COVID-19. But he was eventually diagnosed with GBS.

“You don’t know where it will stop,” Dawe said. He said he would run a 5K just days before he found himself in the hospital. She prayed that her treatment would work before the paralysis of her lungs came and she had to go to a ventilator.

Her doctor, like Hellekson’s, reports about this vaccine’s effect to Health Canada. While it remains unique, they are not alone: ​​as of May 21, Health Canada’s adverse events tracking system featured 15 cases of GBS in a list of several hundred other individuals reported severe side effects.

Hellekson was hospitalized for five days in May. Neurologists believe his sudden paralysis and nerve damage caused his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and Health Canada reported it. (Jenn Donovan / Facebook)

The CBC News department said seven of these cases were linked to a single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and eight to a dose of AstraZeneca’s.

“I feel the most fortunate,” Dawe said. He was treated before losing the excess muscle. And as a project manager at Shell Canada, Dawe has benefits to cover the cost of medical, therapy and unemployment. He knows that some are less fortunate.

The new federal disease benefit for COVID-19 will not help people get sick from the vaccine, than the virus itself.

‘Draconian’ standards

The men found each other, and others in the same boat, online, after searching for information and help.

Now they want others to know that this can happen in rare situations, and take any warning signs seriously. Doctors also need to be more knowledgeable, they say.

Hellekson said he was sick of watching politicians talk about how they could help you if you got COVID-19, but “what the government gives you, to put in your arm, will hurt you? Nothing ‘ y help. Before they started giving vaccines and the great pressure to do so, they should have done it on the spot. “

Until the pandemic hit, Canada was the only G7 country where the government did not assume all responsibility for the damages to protect vaccine promoters from lawsuits. But the government’s COVID-19 vaccine purchase contracts are required to set up a fault-free nationwide payment program, which began back in early December, when the needles began to swell. infiltration of weapons in Canada.

In an email to CBC News, Health Canada said the new program would define “severe and permanent injury” as “a serious, life-threatening or life-changing injury that may require treatment. self-hospitalization, or a prolongation of hospitalization.results in persistent or significant disability or disability, or where the result is a congenital malformation or death. “

Dawe said he found the language of the program somewhat “draconian” and subjective, suggesting it was as if the government was trying to limit payments.

“In eight months, if I go back to baseline, will I be banned from accessing damages?” he asked.

“That’s not the way the real world works. If you get all the responsibility out of one agency, you can’t filter out just what part of the responsibility you want to do. You want to be accountable for permanent ones. damage but not pain and suffering “Only the government has the opportunity to do this. Anyone in their private life will be roasted alive. “

Matthew Dawe, 40, was walking his dog in Calgary about 10 days after receiving his AstraZeneca vaccine when his feet tingled. Within hours, he was in an ER, slowly losing function in various parts of his body. (Matthew Dawe)

Dawe said he plans to hire a lawyer to help him with his application, to make sure he is ready to appeal if he needs to. Maybe Hellekson too.

Corresponding payment schemes in other jurisdictions may offer anyone with GBS in the neighborhood $ 120,000. One who dies after vaccination – which occurs in many Canadian blood cases today – could receive nearly $ 250,000.

Health Canada declined to respond to questions from CBC News earlier this spring about the exact amount available and the total funds allocated for compensation. but Expenditure estimates for 2021-22 have been tabled in Parliament requesting permission for $ 19 million to cover the first months of program operations.

Flexible, ‘not confrontational’

The new federal support program, having launched it application portal this week, modeled after a payment method available in Quebec from the late 1980s.

A third party, RCGT, is contracted to oversee the program and oversee the processing and adjudication of claims, in accordance with standards set by the government.

Both programs use a standard table of injuries known to be related to vaccination, after checking whether the applicant’s condition falls within a reasonable period of time after vaccination.

Applications will be reviewed by medical experts on a case -by -case basis, the application portal says, and may include lost replacement income, death and injury benefits, burial costs or also reimbursement of unspecified costs of medical.

Kumanan Wilson, an epidemiology researcher and professor of medicine at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, was consulted on the design of this program. He said he expects judges to apply a standard of civil law, which will weigh the evidence in judgments, instead of forcing applicants to prove that their vaccination was the cause of their injury.

“The tribunal system is not so much against the U.S. system where you go to court,” he said. “It’s not meant to be confrontational. It’s meant to be fair. It’s meant to be permissive.”

The vague wording of the criteria has allowed some improvement in its interpretation, he said, especially as the science about the written effects of the COVID vaccine continues to advance. “It’s a living document and it’s going to change.”

“Feedback can be very important from the public,” he said, especially if vaccines are needed as conditions of employment in certain fields. “My bias is yes, people have to get paid.”

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