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Congress needs to support injured Americans, not the vaccine manufacturers | Opinion

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 3/11/2022 Daniel Alholm
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Americans injured by the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine do not have a legitimate recourse for their injuries, because Congress refuses to place the 75-cent-per-dose tax on the COVID-19 vaccine that would make it part of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP).

The NVICP, a government program started in 1986, gives vaccine manufacturers legal immunity for injuries caused by their vaccines or the administration of their vaccines. In exchange for this immunity, they pay a 75-cent tax on each dose they sell.

Those funds are then used to compensate injured individuals through the NVICP. Since 1986, the fund has paid out over $4.6 billion and currently has over $4 billion in it.

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The COVID-19 vaccine is currently classified a “countermeasure”. Therefore, the vaccine companies are not required to pay the 75-cent tax but still receive tort immunity. To date, Congress’ failure to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the NVICP has saved the vaccine manufacturers approximately $500 million.

More: Let's treat Americans injured by the COVID-19 vaccine fairly | Opinion

Putting $288 billion into perspective

For Congress to give the three vaccine manufacturers a tax break at the expense of injured Americans is nothing short of perverse.

Consider that from Dec. 31, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2021, the market capitalization value of Moderna has increased over 15-fold from $6.58 billion to $102.98 billion. In that same period, Pfizer’s market cap went from $205.4 billion to $331.44 billion, and Johnson & Johnson’s went from $384 billion to $450.36 billion.

Collectively, the value of these three companies has increased by $288.8 billion dollars during the pandemic. The $500 million-dollar tax break they’ve received is less than two-tenths of 1% of $288.8 billion.

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To put into perspective how much money they are making consider that in 2020, according to the World Bank, only 40 of the world’s 216 countries had a Gross Domestic Product exceeding of $288.8 billion.

Finland, Portugal, Kuwait, Greece, and Chile all had GDP’s less than $288 billion. For $288.8 billion you could buy both McDonalds ($193 billion) and Ford Motor Company ($82.04 billion) and, according to Forbes, still have enough money left over to buy the Dallas Cowboys ($5.7 billion), New York Yankees($5.2 billion), and the Los Angeles Clippers ($2.75 billion). Just a reminder, these three companies aren’t worth $288.8 billion dollars, they’ve increased their value by $288.8 billion dollars during the pandemic. The don’t need a tax break.    

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Injuries are rare, but all consumers still deserve compensation

I’m not advocating for the payment of illegitimate claims, but we can’t deny justice to those with legitimate injuries out of fear people will bring illegitimate claims.

This is a bipartisan call for our leaders to stop looking out for the interest of Big Pharma and do the right thing for the American people.

Physician assistant Whitney Sutton prepares to swap a patient's nose for a COVID-19 test at a testing and vaccination site on 28th Avenue North and Charlotte Avenue in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. © Stephanie Amador / The Tennessean Physician assistant Whitney Sutton prepares to swap a patient's nose for a COVID-19 test at a testing and vaccination site on 28th Avenue North and Charlotte Avenue in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.

Our government, through the NVICP, already admits that on extremely rare occasions other vaccines and the administration of vaccines can cause adverse medical reactions and injuries such as SIRVA (“Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration).

Daniel Alholm © Submitted Daniel Alholm

Congress needs to put politics aside and show some intellectual integrity by admitting that the COVID-19 vaccine is no different.

On the rare occasion someone is injured by the COVID-19 vaccine or its administration they should be taken care of. Our leaders called upon the patriotism of the people to get vaccinated. It defies the American ethos to turn their back on them now.

Daniel Alholm is a Nashville based vaccine injury attorney and vaccine injury advocate who represents individuals nationwide. You can e-mail him at dan@sirvainjury.com or visit his website at www.sirvainjury.com

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Congress needs to support injured Americans, not the vaccine manufacturers | Opinion

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