The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986

Updated February 19, 2024

NVIC's co-founders worked with Congress on the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to 300aa-34). This historic law acknowledged that vaccine injuries and deaths are real and that the vaccine injured and their families should be financially supported and that vaccine safety protections were needed in the mass vaccination system. The law set up a federal vaccine injury compensation program as well as included legal requirements for vaccine providers to:

  • give parents vaccine benefit and risk information before their children are vaccinated;
  • keep written records of vaccine manufacturer names and lot numbers for each vaccination given;
  • enter serious health problems following vaccination into a child's permanent medical record; and
  • report serious health problems following vaccination to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).         

The law preserved the right for vaccine injured persons to bring a lawsuit in the court system if federal compensation is denied or is not sufficient or when there was evidence a drug company could have made a vaccine safe. The U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) reports that by January 2024, the U.S. Court of Claims had awarded over $4.6 billion dollars to vaccine victims for catastrophic vaccine injuries and deaths, not including attorneys fees that are also paid by the VICP. Since its inception in 1988, the VICP has received a total of 26,961 petitions filed for vaccine injury compensation; 1,413 were petitions filed for vaccine related deaths and 25,548 were filed for vaccine injuries. Of these petitions 10,443 (39%) have been compensated, while 12,651 (47%) have been denied compensation. The remaining 3,867 (14%) are at various stages in the compensation process which may include claims awaiting additional information to be provided by petitioners, or a backlog of cases waiting for response from the Department of Justice, which defends the government in VICP cases.

Below are links to the National Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 broken down into specific sections, as listed by the US Government Publishing Office. The amended law may also be viewed in its entirety on the US House of Representatives Office of the Law and Revision Council here.

Part 1--National Vaccine Program

  • Sec. 300aa-1  Establishment -  PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-2  Program responsibilities - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-3  Plan - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-4  Repealed. Pub. L. 105-362, title VI, §601(a)(1)(H), Nov. 10, 1998, 112 Stat. 3285 - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-5  National Vaccine Advisory Committee - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-6  Authorization of appropriations - PDF | Text | More

Part 2--National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

subpart a--program requirements

  • Sec. 300aa-10  Establishment of program - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-11  Petitions for compensation - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-12  Court jurisdiction - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-13  Determination of eligibility and compensation - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-14  Vaccine Injury Table - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-15  Compensation - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-16  Limitations of actions - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-17  Subrogation - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-18  Repealed. Pub. L. 100-203, title IV, §4303(d)(2)(B), Dec. 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 1330-222 - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-19  Advisor - PDF | Text | More

subpart b--additional remedies

  • Sec. 300aa-21  Authority to bring actions - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-22  Standards of responsibility - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-23  Trial - PDF | Text | More

subpart c--assuring a safer childhood vaccination program in united states

  • Sec. 300aa-25  Recording and reporting of information - PDF | Text | More 
  • Sec. 300aa-26  Vaccine information - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-27  Mandate for safer childhood vaccines - PDF | Text | More 
  • Sec. 300aa-28  Manufacturer recordkeeping and reporting - PDF | Text | More

subpart d--general provisions

  • Sec. 300aa-31  Citizen's actions - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-32  Judicial review - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-33  Definitions - PDF | Text | More
  • Sec. 300aa-34  Termination of program - PDF | Text | More


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