Filed under: Legislation, Parents' Pages
As an attorney focusing my practice on representing people injured by vaccines, I am well-versed in the vaccine claims process. Unfortunately, many people are not even aware that there is a legal recourse for such vaccine-related injuries. The law provides only three years from the start of symptoms to file a claim, and unfortunately clients often call when it is too late. Usually they inform me that they did not even know about this program. It is our goal to change this by spreading the word about the vaccine claims program. It is a fact that vaccines can hurt people. The Vaccine Compensation Trust Fund was created solely to compensate people who are afflicted with injuries, conditions, or reactions after receiving vaccines.
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“VICP”) is a Federal program created to provide compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines. The VICP was created by Congress in 1986 as a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims. “No-fault” is a legal term which means the plaintiff need not prove negligence, recklessness, willfulness, or any other “fault.” Rather, the plaintiff need prove only that a vaccine caused the injuries; whether the vaccine was created, manufactured, administered or stored negligently is irrelevant.
A vaccine claim is not a traditional lawsuit in that a plaintiff does not sue the vaccine manufacturer or the doctor – it is not a medical malpractice suit or a defective product suit. Rather, the compensation is awarded from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is funded by a $0.75 excise tax paid by vaccine manufacturers. The excise tax is imposed on each dose of a vaccine made. The fund is administered by the federal government, namely the Department of Health and Human Services. Monetary damages for vaccine injury victims, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs, are paid by the trust fund. This is another aspect of the program that sets it apart from traditional injury lawsuits- the plaintiff keeps all of his or her settlement or award without owing any percentage to the attorney. The fund changes monthly and is currently over 3 billion dollars.
Vaccine injury claims are filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. where they are heard by a special master rather than a judge. A lawyer from the Department of Justice, who represents the Secretary of Health and Human Services, will defend the case. If the special master finds that the individual suffered a vaccine injury, compensation will be awarded for the injured person’s past and future medical needs, future lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering.
What vaccines are covered by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?
Not all vaccines are covered by the VICP. In order to bring a claim, you must have suffered an injury, allergic reaction, disease or condition after receiving one of the following vaccines:
- Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTP, DTaP, Tdap, DT, Td, or TT)
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis A (HAV)
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Influenza (TIV, LAIV) [given each year]
- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR, MR, M, R)
- Meningococcal (MCV4, MPSV4)
- Polio (OPV or IPV)
- Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)
- Rotavirus (RV)
- Varicella (VZV)
- Additional vaccines may be added in the future
In addition to receiving one of the above vaccines, to be eligible to file a claim, the effects of the person’s injury must have: 1) lasted for more than 6 months after the vaccine was given; or 2) resulted in a hospital stay and surgery; or 3) resulted in death.
In Part 2 of this series, I will explain the concept of “Table Injuries.” To contact the author, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The information and materials on this blog are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information and materials provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. Nothing on this blog is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. If you require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.
Review: The average cost of measles cases and adverse events following vaccination in industrialised countries
Filed under: Article Reviews, Vaccine Science, Vaccine/Disease Analysis
One of our readers posted a comment asking us: “Can you tease out some facts in this study?” We think we could probably write several papers discussing the issues surrounding this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC128813/ but we will provide a brief summary because a study such as this isn’t worth spending an inordinate amount of time on.
We are going to make a few opening caveats:
1) Some of us believe that measles might be the only vaccine that is justifiable on a large population basis and that is only because there is some evidence that measles can have a relatively high (still low on an absolute basis) rate of serious side effects in some populations.
2) Cost justification studies (such as this) are usually based on a house of cards, and are only as good as the data that underlies the layers of assumptions made in the model.
3) Cost justification studies that are used to support mass vaccination mandates almost invariably turn out to be wrong due to underestimating the cost of the vaccine program and side-effects and overestimating the effectiveness of the vaccines.
4) These studies are often misleading because they are usually sensitive to a few key assumptions and they normalize everything to a dollar value. Here is a sample problem with normalizing everything to a dollar value: let us imagine we have two different vaccines that we want to give to 1 million people. In the testing, 50% of the people suffered 3 days of mild illness causing missed work with no long term effects from vaccine A. 1 person died from vaccine B with no one else suffering any ill effects. The cost of vaccine A would be far higher in almost any financial model, and yet clearly we would much rather fall mildly ill for 3 days rather than risk a 1 in a million chance of dying.
This particular study is interesting in that it is not actually performing a cost comparison or justification. It is only trying to set the cost of a measles case and the cost of a measles vaccine reaction. In order to judge the likelihood of bias in a study, a quick check on the authors reveals that although there are no direct conflicts of interest declared, several of them work for organizations which were desperate to defend the MMR vaccine in the wake of the Wakefield papers from around that time period. There is nothing wrong with that, but it provides context for the timing, content, and potential bias’ of the study. Read more
Filed under: News, Vaccine Science, Vaccine/Disease Analysis
We are now in the thick of the influenza season, and it is a true shame that the emphasis on vaccines against the flu has drowned out any mainstream discussion much less headlines for an important study recently released in Nature about the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus: Severe pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza disease due to pathogenic immune complexes . The press release is worth reading.
There are a few initial things that make this study worth noting:
1) It is not funded by the industrial/governmental health care complex
2) It is short, concise, and doesn’t draw any reaching conclusions
3) It furthers our understanding of the 2009 H1N1 Flu by doing a rigorous scientific follow-up of real cases.
The last point is a refreshing change as one of the best ways to learn something is to examine the medical outcomes for real people and this is something we don’t see very often from our medical authorities. The study itself does not address vaccines but the findings have important implications for mass influenza vaccination policies. Read more