NVIC Asks for Simple Justice for Vaccine Injured Children

"Protecting the health and informed consent rights of children since 1982."


Contact: 703-938-0342

For Immediate Release
September 27, 1999 


Washington, D.C. - The National Vaccine Information Center will call on Congress tomorrow to keep an old promise made to parents of vaccine injured children 13 years ago when it passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 and created a federal vaccine injury compensation alternative to a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers and physicians. In testimony submitted to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources for a hearing on the compensation portion of the law (10 a.m., Room 2154, Rayburn House Office Building), NVIC charges that the Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Justice have violated the "spirit and intent of the law" and turned what Congress promised parents would be a "non-adversarial, expeditious and informal process" into a "highly adversarial, lengthy, traumatic and unfair imitation of a lawsuit."

Pointing out that three out of four children are turned away for federal compensation for permanent immune system and brain damage following receipt of mandated vaccines, NVIC co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher stated that the public hearing offers hope to families with vaccine injured children that Congress will act to insure that "the qualities of justice, equity, charity and mercy do, in the end, prevail in our society."

NVIC is asking Congress to roll back the changes that DHHS made to the 1986 law, which the parent-led vaccine safety advocacy organization terms "a fatal compromise of its integrity" and is urging the addition of new incentives for DHHS and Justice to adhere to the "spirit and intent" of the law, including:

  • Restoring the guiding principal of "presumption" allowing evidence that certain signs and symptoms of a vaccine reaction has taken place within proscribed time periods wherein the vaccine(s) can be presumed to be the cause of the child’s injury or death if no other alternative biological cause can be found;
  • Reinstating the original rules and definitions of vaccine injury governing compensation awards endorsed by Congress in 1986 which were eliminated or significantly weakened by DHHS in 1995;
  • Extending the time period for the filing of vaccine injury compensation claims to the age of majority and instituting deadlines in the compensation system process to expedite awards;
  • Re-opening the compensation program to children denied compensation after DHHS narrowed the rules for compensation in 1995; and
  • Prohibiting the addition of future vaccines until further scientific research is conducted to better define the biological mechanism of vaccine injury and death;

NVIC’s testimony highlights the fact that some 70 percent of all compensation system awards have been made for injuries and deaths caused by the whole cell pertussis vaccine (the "P" part of the DPT vaccine). Because a purified, less toxic DtaP vaccine was licensed by the FDA for use in all children in 1996, NVIC is urging Congress to recommend removal of the license from vaccine manufacturers to sell whole cell pertussis vaccine in the US, including the termination of all federal investment in clinical trials and other research involving development of new combination vaccines containing the old whole cell pertussis vaccine.

Tomorrow’s hearing is being called by Subcommittee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) to examine the implementation of the federally-administered vaccine injury compensation program portion of the 1986 law. Congressman Mica held a hearing on May 18, 1999 to investigate reports of hepatitis B vaccine injuries and deaths, which was followed by a hearing called by Chairman Dan Burton (R-IN) in the full Government Reform Committee on Aug. 3 to review the reported links between vaccination and autism, infant death as well as other vaccine-related autoimmune and neurological disorders.

The National Vaccine Information Center is a national, non-profit educational organization founded by parents of vaccine injured children in 1982 and dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education. For more information, access www.nvic.org or call 1-800-909shot.

The National Vaccine Information Center is a non-profit educational organization founded by parents of vaccine-injured children in 1982.

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