Over $4.2 billion in compensation has been awarded to vaccine-injured individuals by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Vaccine adverse event


Vaccine Injury Compensation Program[edit]

In 1988, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) went into effect to compensate individuals and families of individuals who have been injured by specified childhood vaccines.[21] The VICP was adopted in response to an earlier scare over the pertussis portion of the DPT vaccine. These claims were later generally discredited, but some U.S. lawsuits against vaccine makers won substantial awards; most makers ceased production, and the last remaining major manufacturer threatened to do so.[22] As of October 2019, $4.2 Billion in compensation (not including attorneys fees and costs) has been awarded.[23]

Vaccine Injury Compensation Program procedure and legal requirements[edit]

VICP uses a streamlined system for litigating vaccine injury claims under which the claimant must show that the vaccine caused the injury, but just as in litigation for injury by any other product, he is not required to establish it was anyone’s fault (i.e. negligence need not be proven)[24] Claims that are denied can be pursued through civil lawsuits, though this is rare, and the statute creating the VICP also imposes substantial limitations on the ability to pursue such lawsuits. The VICP covers all vaccines listed on the Vaccine Injury Table[25] which is maintained by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. To win an award, a claimant is required to show a causal connection between an injury and one of the vaccines listed in the Vaccine Injury Table. Compensation is payable for “table” injuries, those listed in the Vaccine Injury Table, as well as, “non-table” injuries, injuries not listed in the table.[26]

In addition, an award may only be given if the claimant’s injury lasted for more than 6 months after the vaccine was given, resulted in a hospital stay and surgery or resulted in death. Awards are based on medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering (capped at $250,000).[27]

From 1988 until March 3, 2011, 5,636 claims relating to autism, and 8,119 non-autism claims, were made to the VICP. 2,620 of these claims, one autism-related, were compensated, with 4,463 non-autism and 814 autism claims dismissed; awards (including attorney’s fees) totaled over $2 billion. The VICP also applies to claims for injuries suffered before 1988; there were 4,264 of these claims of which 1,189 were compensated with awards totaling $903 million.[25] As of October 2019, $4.2 billion in compensation (not including attorneys fees and costs) has been awarded over the life of the program.[28]


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