The United States is pursuing a comprehensive vaccine campaign to stop the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Speed is crucial, given concerns that current vaccines might not be as effective against emerging variants. However, polls suggest that one-third of Americans are skeptical of or unwilling to receive COVID-19 vaccines, fearing that they might suffer an adverse reaction.

Although serious vaccine injuries are very rare, the United States has two federal compensation systems for people who have been harmed by vaccines: the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. COVID-19 vaccine claims will be handled by the CICP, and the level of benefits provided by that system — and the speed which with claims are processed — could affect whether some Americans are willing to be vaccinated.

The RAND Institute for Civil Justice and the RAND Kenneth R. Feinberg Center for Catastrophic Risk Management and Compensation presented a virtual event that explored how those who believe that they have been injured by COVID-19 vaccines in the United States can seek compensation and how the two federal compensation systems differ.

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