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Health and Human Resources Department (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt has announced final rules for the Smallpox Vaccine Injury Compensation Program; these rules strengthen the smallpox vaccination compensation program, which provides benefits to public health and medical response team members and others who are injured as a result of receiving the smallpox vaccine.
The final rules supersede and update the Smallpox Vaccine Injury Table and the Administrative Implementation interim final rules that were published in the Dec. 16, 2003 issue of the Federal Register.
"By offering compensation to first responders and others injured by the vaccine, the program protects those pledged to protect us in the event of a smallpox outbreak," Leavitt said. The final rules also clarify the definition of a child survivor, extend the effective period in which an individual may receive a smallpox vaccination and be considered for benefits, and address which individuals may be considered for benefits. The final rules were published in the May 24, 2006, edition of the Federal Register and are effective immediately.
The department's Health Resources and Services Administration administers the program, which provides medical benefits and lost employment income to eligible members of an HHS-approved smallpox emergency response plan and others injured by a smallpox vaccine or death benefits to survivors.
In addition to smallpox vaccine recipients, unvaccinated individuals injured after coming into contact with a vaccinated member of an emergency response plan, or with a person with whom the vaccinated person had contact, or their survivors may be eligible for the same program benefits.
Based on a Jan. 30, 2006, amendment to the Secretary's declaration, the date by which an individual in an HHS-approved smallpox emergency response plan may receive a smallpox vaccination and still be considered for benefits under the program has been extended to Jan. 23, 2007.
Anyone interested in eligibility or application information can contact the Smallpox Vaccine Injury Compensation Program at (888) 496-0338 or by sending an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who wish to file a claim will find forms and information at www.hrsa.gov/smallpoxinjury.