Department of Health and Human Services receives 386 2009 H1N1 injury claims

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the receipt of 386 injury claims related to the 2009 pandemic H1N1 vaccine and other related pandemic countermeasures.

Dr. Vito Caserta, director of the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, said the claims are varied in their scope, from breathing problems and numbness to seizures and death, according to CIDRAP News.

"To date, 54 claims have been filed that appear to have been submitted with sufficient medical records to place them in line for review," Caserta told CIDRAP News. "Of these, 26 have begun a medical review."

Studies have proven that the monovalent 2009 H1N1 vaccine was equally as safe as the seasonal vaccines, but those that believe they were injured by the vaccine or other related countermeasures such as antivirals, can file claims with the CICP.

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2005 began the CICP, which is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Its design allows for claimants to have an avenue for compensation without going to court.

The CICP also protects drug companies and medical providers from most lawsuits that claim harm from medical countermeasures for public health emergencies.

The Vaccine Injury compensation Program, which began in 1988, is similar in scope to the CICP. It also handles claims related to seasonal vaccines, as well as other vaccines, CIDRAP News reports. Both programs are aimed at ensuring a supply of countermeasures by keeping manufacturers out of a large numbers of lawsuits.

Only the monovalent version of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine is covered by the CICP. The 2009 H1N1 virus was included in the 2010-2011 seasonal vaccine that is covered by the VCIP.