COLORADO SPRINGS — As of August 6, 2021, more than 13 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC states there are 39 confirmed reports of people who experienced severe, adverse health complications involving blood clots. The majority of the reports regarding the serious condition have been in adult women, who are younger than 50 years old. The CDC said the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
A Colorado Springs woman, Kendra Lippy, said she got the Johnson & Johnson vaccination on March 7, and was placed into a medically-induced coma on March 20. Doctors brought her out of the coma 22 days later. Once awake, she learned she had severe blood clots in her small intestine, legs, lungs, and liver. All but 90 centimeters of her small intestine was removed. "Our small intestine is made up of three parts, and I have the beginning and the end, but I'm missing the entire middle," explained Lippy, who said her biggest health challenges right now are her food intake and endurance.
CLICK HERE to read more about Lippy's experience in the months immediately following her Johnson & Johnson vaccination.
"Every time you have to talk about it, it's still very fresh even though it was in March."
News5 first met with Lippy in early June. Since then, Lippy has gone to the hospital three times, and one visit resulted in surgery. She calls those "setbacks," but is not letting them hinder her road to recovery. Lippy wants to get back to work, and especially wants to be able to pick up her nephew again. She's also dedicated to fighting for political action to help people who have severe adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines. "I feel like my health care should be provided and taken care of, because I did what I was supposed to do... There's so many other people who have had adverse reactions, and there needs to be some sort of help for all of us," said Lippy.
Lippy's attorney, Stephen Justino, estimated her medical bills will total to over one million dollars. "The government shouldn't be leaving people like Kendra, who are wounded in the war to defeat this pandemic, on the field of battle. That's why the law needs to be changed," said Justino.
Justino said the system available to help people in Lippy's position is called the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). According to Justino, the CICP denies nine of every ten claims it receives. He also said the CICP is designed to handle 50 claims a year, but has already had over 2,000 presented to them. "It really is a black hole for claims, and I do expect that the system is going to collapse under it's own weight," said Justino.
Justino referenced the Vaccine Injury Compensation Modernization Act of 2021, a piece of federal legislation he said would bring COVID-19 vaccine adverse reaction claims out of the CICP and into the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Justino believes the VICP is a more transparent program that provides robust benefits packages. One of the benefits to the VICP, according to Justino, is individuals can file a claim in federal court if they disagree with the VICP's decision. He said that is not allowed within the CICP's system.
Lippy said she would testify before legislators in support of this act. She and Justino have been trying to arrange meetings with members of Colorado's congressional delegation since early May. The two met with Congressman Doug Lamborn's office on August 9, and have scheduled a meeting with Congressman Ed Perlmutter's office on August 18. "They need to meet Kendra to truly understand how these adverse reactions are affecting real people, and we have yet to have a face to face with any of the congressional representatives themselves. We still hope to," said Justino.
Justino said they have one year from the vaccination date to file Lippy's claim with the CICP. He said he plans on waiting as long as he can, to see if some of his concerns with the system are addressed.