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Smallpox Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The Smallpox Emergency Personnel Protection Act of 2003, Public Law 108-20, 117 Stat. 638, authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish the Smallpox Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The program was appropriated $42 million to provide benefits and/or compensation to eligible individuals. HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced an interim final rule that described eligibility criteria and the process for requesting benefits on December 16, 2003.

To be eligible, an individual must be a:

  • Smallpox Vaccine Recipient, defined as:
    • a health care worker, law enforcement officer, firefighter, security personnel, emergency medical personnel, other public safety personnel, or support personnel for such occupational specialties who has volunteered and been selected to be a member of a smallpox emergency response plan prior to the time at which the Secretary publicly announces that an active case of smallpox has been identified within or outside of the United States;
    • who is or will be functioning in a role identified in an HHS-approved smallpox emergency response plan (a Plan);
    • to whom a smallpox vaccine is administered pursuant to a Plan during the effective period of the Declaration.
  • Vaccinia Contact, defined as:
    • someone who contracted vaccinia during the effective period of the Declaration (or within 30 days after the end of such period);
    • prior to contracting vaccinia, was accidentally inoculated by a smallpox vaccine recipient or a contact of such a person.
  • Survivor of a smallpox vaccine recipient or a vaccinia contact who died as a direct result of a medical injury covered by this Program, or
  • Representative of an estate of a deceased smallpox vaccine recipient or vaccinia contact.

A Covered Injury is defined as an injury that the Secretary determines:

  • meets the requirements of the Table (which is presumed to be the direct result of the administration of a smallpox vaccine or accidental vaccinia inoculation); or
  • was more likely than not, the direct result of:
    (A) the administration of a covered countermeasure (including the smallpox vaccine) during the effective period of the Declaration, in the case of a smallpox vaccine recipient; or
    (B) vaccinia contracted through accidental vaccinia inoculation (and not the result of receiving a smallpox vaccine) during the effective period of the Declaration (or within 30 days after the end of such period), in the case of a vaccinia contact.
  • Covered Injuries Table

Individuals who have injuries not in the Table injuries also may be considered eligible for benefits if their injuries can be shown to be the direct result of the smallpox vaccine, other covered countermeasures or vaccinia. Minor injuries are not covered.

  • UPDATE - Amendment To Extend for One Year the January 24, 2003, Declaration Regarding Administration of Smallpox Countermeasures, as Amended on January 24, 2004, January 24, 2005, January 24, 2006 and January 24, 2007. Federal Register Notice
  • Payments received by eligible individuals for covered injuries are excluded from gross income for Federal income tax purposes (except for amounts attributable to, and not in excess of, deductions allowed under § 213 (relating to medical, etc. expenses) for any prior taxable year). Additionally, such payments do not constitute wages and are not subject to withholding for FICA, FUTA, and Federal income tax withholding purposes, and do not constitute net earnings from self-employment for SECA purposes. IRS Notice