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Canada's Vaccine Injury Support program receives more than 700 claims, approves eight

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New numbers from Canada's Vaccine Injury Support Program show there have been eight approved claims of a serious and permanent injury linked to a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines.

The Vaccine Injury Support Program was first announced in December 2020 and officially launched in June 2021. While serious reactions to vaccines are extremely rare -- approximately one in 10,000, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) -- they have happened.

As of June 1, 2022, the program has received a total of 774 claims. Of these, 654 claims were considered admissible following an administrative review by a case manager, while 71 claims were found to be inadmissible and 49 are pending review.

Of the admissible claims, 553 claims are in the process of collecting medical records, which PHAC says is usually the longest step before they can be assessed by the Medical Review Board. In this step, claimants are first contacted to provide their consent for the retrieval of these medical records from their health-care providers. Following that, each health-care provider is then contacted individually for the relevant records.

According to PHAC, the board is made up of physicians with relevant experience who will determine if there is an association between the injury and the vaccine.

So far, the Medical Review Board has assessed 26 claims and eight of these claims have completed review. An additional 23 claims are pending assessment.

PHAC defines severe or permanent injuries as “life-threatening or life-altering injuries that may require in-person hospitalization, or a prolongation of existing hospitalization, and results in persistent or significant disability or incapacity, or where the outcome is a congenital malformation or death.”

The program says the amount of financial support provided will be determined on a case-by-case basis and compensation will be retroactive from the date of the injury or death. So far, PHAC has not disclosed the total amount of financial support paid to claimants, citing privacy reasons and the fact that not all claimants have had their payments processed.

The next reporting of vaccine injury claims is set to be made public no later than June 30, 2023, reflecting statistics up to March 31, 2023.

As of May 12, 2022, PHAC has documented 45,149 cases of adverse events following a COVID-19 vaccine, representing 0.055 per cent of all doses administered. Of these, 36,634 were considered non-serious while 9,515, representing 0.011 per cent of all doses, were considered serious.

With files from CTVNews.ca's Brooklyn Neustaeter

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