COVID vaccine requires tough choices about who will get it and how soon

Kenneth R. Feinberg

Just 11 days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Congress enacted the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and I became its administrator. Over the next 33 months, the Fund paid over $7.1 billion in public taxpayer money to 5,300 individual victims. The law made clear that eligibility was limited to the families of those who died on 9/11 and those individual victims who survived but suffered physical injury. The law expressly prohibited individual claims of mental injury. Congress made a hard decision to restrict eligibility to death and physical injury. 

Today, people in the United States and around the globe eagerly await the development, manufacture and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. Billions of dollars are being invested in the ongoing effort and vaccine availability is anticipated in the next few months, even weeks. That means a determination must be made — and soon — as to who will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of others.  

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