Overview of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986

NVIC's co-founders worked with Congress on the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which 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 established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which was created to to ensure vaccine supply, stabilize vaccine costs, and establish a no-fault compensation alternative for those injured by vaccines. Currently the U. S. Court of Federal Claims decides vaccine injury claims and three Federal government offices jointly work to administer in the NVICP:

  • the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);
  • the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); and
  • the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (the Court).

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. The law also 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 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.

The law also established the following federal advisory committees, that also play a role in shaping vaccination policy in the U.S.  The public may make public comment and/or attend these committee meetings and minutes and updates of tasks undertaken by these committees are posted on their websites.  For more information on these committees, click the links below.

Other committees shaping vaccination policy in the U.S. that were not established by the 1986 law include:

Make A Difference

NVIC is 100% funded by donations.

Connect with Us!

Protect Your Right to Make Vaccine Choices
Ask 8 Information Kiosk

Explore FREE downloadable educational materials

Opens in new tab, window
Opens an external site
Opens an external site in new tab, window