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Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC)

Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC) Smallpox Statement

OWCP Guidance on Coverage for Smallpox Inoculations

Many federal employees will receive voluntary smallpox inoculations from or sponsored by their employing agency. It is anticipated that a small percentage of these employees will experience a reaction. A reaction to an agency sponsored or required inoculation program generally would entitle the employee to workers' compensation coverage. An employee who is attributing an illness or injury to a smallpox vaccine provided by the employer should be given a CA-1 and a CA-16. Federal employees claiming an injury due to contact with the vaccinia virus from the vaccine site of another immunized person may also be covered (see FECA Procedure Manual 3-0400-7). These employees have the same burden to establish the five basic requirements of coverage as any other claimant and must submit medical evidence in support of an identifiable injury. The employer should accompany any such claim with a statement fully explaining the agency's provision of the inoculation to the claimant or coworkers.

A new cause of injury code "1S" has been added to our system and should be used solely to report injuries attributed to smallpox inoculations or injuries attributed to workplace exposure to others who have been inoculated for smallpox. This code is our only method of distinguishing and tracking these claims and therefore we must emphasize the need to properly code incoming claim forms. Our staff that creates new claims will be screening claim forms as well and may change this code as we deem appropriate.

Workers' compensation coverage is only provided to individuals with an established work injury. Wages for periods of absence from work as a preventative measure following inoculation, or the charge for the vaccine itself are not payable under the FECA.