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The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (PL-99-660) is a vaccine safety and compensation system which (1) created a no-fault compensation alternative to suing vaccine manufacturers and providers on behalf of citizens injured or killed by vaccines; (2) helps prevent future vaccine injuries through education and an adverse reaction reporting system; and (3) creates incentives for the production of safer vaccines.

Compensation is divided into two parts:  

  1. Injuries or deaths prior to October 1, 1988 (no matter how long ago the injury occurred):

    • A citizen may choose to pursue a lawsuit unrestricted.
    • citizen could have filed a claim in the compensation system by January 31, 1991
    • If the claim was not filed by 1/31/91, the statute of limitations has run out.
  2. Injuries or deaths occurring after October 1, 1988

    • A citizen is required to apply for federal compensation prior to pursuing a lawsuit.
    • The system will offer to pay up to $250,000 for a vaccine associated death.
    • The system will offer to pay for all past and future unreimbursed medical expenses, custodial and nursing home care; up to $250,000 pain and suffering; and loss of earned income.
    • If a citizen rejects the award or is turned down, a lawsuit may be filed.
    • Claims must be filed within 24 months of a death and 36 months of an injury.
    • Restrictions may apply to lawsuits.
    • The system is funded by a sur-charge on each dose of vaccine sold.  
    All suspected vaccine reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) operated by the Food and Drug Administration. Health care providers are required by law to report reactions. If the doctor will not report the reaction, NVIC will provide you with the forms so you can report the reaction.  

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