Bill to Compensate Victims of Vaccine Passes Committee
Wall Street Journal; D3
Although facing strong Democratic opposition for being too weak, a Senate committee passed a Republican-backed plan to pay $262,000 to families of individuals killed or totally disabled due to the smallpox vaccine, and people with less severe injuries would receive $50,000 in lost wages and reimbursement for medical expenses. Both Republicans and Democrats feel that a compensation program would increase the likelihood of first responders receiving the vaccine; only 25,000 people received the smallpox vaccination out of the 450,000 originally expected to receive the shot. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) wants to both increase funding for permanently disabled individuals and also guarantee funding of the initiative for the future.