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'We'll just turn up the heat': Republican lawmakers call out Biden admin over its broken vaccine injury program
Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

'We'll just turn up the heat': Republican lawmakers call out Biden admin over its broken vaccine injury program

Two Republican congressmen from Georgia are pressing the Biden administration for answers in response to the various problems experienced by COVID vaccine recipients who are now attempting to navigate the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' vaccine injury program.

Rep. Mike Collins wrote to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra earlier this month concerning the department's Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, which is supposed to provide "compensation for covered serious injuries or deaths that occur as the result of the administration or use of certain countermeasures. Compensation may include unreimbursed medical expenses (expenses that health insurance did not cover), lost employment income, and the survivor death benefit."

Collins indicated that many Americans injured by the COVID vaccines are having difficulties with the program. Consequently, injured individuals — who in many cases were mandated by the Biden administration to receive the shots — are suffering, not only from their sometimes debilitating and painful injuries, but now from "extraordinary financial and personal burdens."

Vaccine-injured individuals in his state have reported "burdensome requirements to get their claims reviewed, long delays in receiving a claim decisions, and high rates of unfavorable decisions," wrote Collins.

WXIA-TV reported that for more than half of the people who have filed claims with the CICP, the so-called countermeasure believed responsible was the COVID-19 vaccine.

Allen Storey told WXIA that he was initially glad to get the vaccine. However, he subsequently suffered an acute brain stem stroke.

Storey reportedly first felt vertigo. Soon, he became unable to communicate except by squeezing his wife's hand.

Neither Allen nor his wife could work any longer, Allen because of his injury and Beverly because she had to care for her husband. They even had to give up their home to find a place to accommodate Allen's newly required wheelchair.

Since Storey had received a full body health screen and was deemed generally healthy prior to his COVID-19 vaccine, the couple determined that the shot was the catalyst for what now ails him.

They sought out help via the CICP, but relief never came.

"The burden of proof is 100% on you, and that became a problem with cost and logistics," Beverly told WXIA.

Despite sending thousands of pages of medical information pertaining to Allen's various diagnoses and records to the HHS program, two years later, Beverly noted the CICP still has yet to get in touch.

"You don’t get any answers. Nobody calls back, nobody’s sent anything in the mail," said Storey. "I don’t understand why they can’t read it and respond like they said they would!"

According to the CICP website, there have been 11,196 COVID-19 vaccine injury claims filed as of Feb. 1; 10,653 are pending review or in review. Of the 543 decisions made, only 19 individuals have been deemed eligible for compensation. Another 524 applicants were denied, 88 of whom allegedly did not meet the standard of proof.

Of the total COVID-19 claims, 8,447 allege injuries or deaths from the vaccines and 2,749 allege injuries or deaths from other COVID-19 countermeasures.

Politico reported in June that the CICP was overwhelmed with complaints after the introduction and mandating of COVID-19 vaccines.

Health Resources and Services Administration spokesperson David Bowman suggested that "the statute sets a very high standard that a claimant must meet to be eligible for compensation," accounting for why the Biden administration used taxpayer money to help so few people with alleged vaccine injuries.

"HHS just accepts or denies the claims, there’s no judicial review, and there’s very little information about why things have been denied," said Christina Ciampolillo, president of the Vaccine Injured Petitioners Bar Association.

Renee Gentry, director of the Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic at George Washington University Law School, told Politico, "The COVID vaccine injuries are still rare, but there are some very significant injuries that have destroyed lives. ... It’s frustrating to tell those people who did everything right … that they get nothing for that."

In his Feb. 2 letter, Collins said the difficulties faced by those trying to navigate the program are "unacceptable" and intimated they added insult to injury.

"This administration has repeatedly encouraged, and in some cases, unconstitutionally mandated Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine. It appears that in many cases, individuals, including many Georgians, have followed the urging of this administration, and taken a COVID-19 vaccine and suffered side-effects," wrote Collins. "When they reported these side-effects, they were first silenced by your Agency, censored on social media, and abandoned by this administration when they sought help.'

Collins added, "Now that millions of Americans have taken the vaccine, it is the responsibility of your Agency to provide necessary financial assistance to individuals who have suffered side-effects from a COVID vaccine."

He told WXIA that Congress must hold HHS accountable: "We’ve got to get these agencies to come in and tell us exactly what’s been going on and we’ve got to get control over them. Because they do not run on their own. They answer to Congress. We hold the purse strings, and it's time we start using those purse strings to get our answers."

Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) similarly seeks to have the CICP and HHS address its "slow response time and lack of transparency" in helping the vaccine-injured.

A spokesman for his office indicated McCormick "is working with his fellow congressmen and physicians to address this issue in a substantial way ... and his inquiries will be published shortly.”

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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