Objective Analysis of #Vaxxed Goals – #NVICP – Part 2 of 5

In this series, PA Raven will address the 4 goals of the Vaxxed movies leadership (1). Those goals are as follows:

1. Subpoena CDC Senior Scientist William Thompson, Ph.D.

2. Repeal of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. 

3. Make the single Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine available. 

4. Classify vaccines as pharmaceutical drugs, and test accordingly. 

Part 1 of this analysis can be found here: http://paraven.net/an-objective-analysis-of-vaxxed-goals-part-1-of-5/

This article deals with goal #2. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (2)(3), hereinafter referred to as NVICP. 

About the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (PDF), as amended, created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system. It provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines. Even in cases in which such a finding is not made, petitioners may receive compensation through a settlement.

The VICP was established after lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers and healthcare providers threatened to cause vaccine shortages and reduce vaccination rates. The Program began accepting petitions (also called claims) in 1988. The Program’s objectives are to:

 ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, 

 stabilize vaccine costs, and 

 establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by certain vaccines.

Program Administration

The VICP is administered by the Division of Injury Compensation Programs, Healthcare Systems Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Three Federal organizations have a role in the VICP:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosts the Program, conducts medical reviews of petitions, and makes Court-ordered compensation payments;
  • U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) represents HHS in Court; and
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims (the Court) makes the final decision regarding whether a petition is compensated and the type and amount of compensation.

Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund

The Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund provides funding for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to compensate vaccine-related injury or death petitions for covered vaccines administered on or after October 1, 1988.

Funded by a $.75 excise tax on vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for routine administration to children, the excise tax is imposed on each dose (i.e., disease that is prevented) of a vaccine. Trivalent influenza vaccine for example, is taxed $.75 because it prevents one disease; measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which prevents three diseases, is taxed $2.25.

The Department of Treasury collects the excise taxes and manages the Fund’s investments and produces Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund Monthly Reports.

Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines

The Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines, consisting of nine voting members, advises and makes recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, on issues relating to the operation of the VICP and on ways to improve it.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information, read the FAQs.

How It Works

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is a no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions.

It was created in the 1980s, after lawsuits against vaccine companies and health care providers threatened to cause vaccine shortages and reduce U.S. vaccination rates, which could have caused a resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases.

Any individual, of any age, who received a covered vaccine and believes he or she was injured as a result, can file a petition. Parents, legal guardians and legal representatives can file on behalf of children, disabled adults, and individuals who are deceased.

The process is as follows:

1 An individual files a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

2 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services medical staff reviews the petition, determines if it meets the medical criteria for compensation and makes a preliminary recommendation.

3 The U.S. Department of Justice develops a report that includes the medical recommendation and legal analysis and submits it to the Court.

 The report is presented to a court-appointed special master, who decides whether the petitioner should be compensated, often after holding a hearing in which both parties can present evidence. If compensation is awarded, the special master determines the amount and type of compensation.

 The Court orders the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to award compensation. Even if the petition is dismissed, if certain requirements are met, the Court may order the Department to pay attorneys’ fees and costs. 

The special master’s decision may be appealed and petitioners who reject the decision of the court (or withdraw their petitions within certain timelines) may file a claim in civil court against the vaccine company and/or the health care provider who administered the vaccine. 

Some key details on NVICP are as follows:

1. There is a strict 3 year statute of limitations for filing a claim with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. 

2. There is a Table List for injuries acknowledged to be caused by a covered vaccine. If the table injury occurs within a specified time frame post vaccination, it is presumed to have been caused by the vaccine, unless another plausible reason can be shown. No proof of causation is required. You can find the Table List here: http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vaccineinjurytable.pdf

3. Injuries that occur as a result of vaccine administration, that are not listed on the Table List, are called Off-Table injuries. Any illness or impairment can be considered as an Off-Table Injury. Proof of causation from a covered vaccine is required, similar to a civil lawsuit. 

4. As a result of enacting the NVICP in 1986, Congress essentially absolved vaccine manufacturers and doctors of liability in the use and administration of vaccines. 

Commentary:

The NVICP removal of liability on vaccines was meant to ensure the availability of vaccines to the public, while providing an avenue of compensation to those who are injured by them. The Act was passed by Congress in response to the prospect of vaccine manufacturers withdrawing from the market in the face of crippling lawsuits. In theory, this seems like a good idea. In practice, it has many flaws. The absence of liability has created a climate in which the public believes vaccine manufacturers put the profits of their products above the responsibility to deliver safer vaccines. This is especially concerning due to vaccine mandates for school attendance (subject to parental exemptions in 47 States).

PA Raven believes a balance can be struck between these competing interests by amending the NVICP as follows:

1. Extend the statute of limitations for filing a claim to 10 years.

2. Expand the Table List of injuries to include recently discovered illnesses and impairments related to vaccine administration. 

3. Increase the claim payments under NVICP for fixed benefit amounts that are currently set at 1986 levels. 

4. Allow injured parties to opt out of NVICP and file their cases in Federal Court. 

Consumers pay a tax on each vaccine that funds the NVICP. This is in effect a defacto premium payment. The existing statute of limitations serves to limt or suppress claims filed under the program, and is arbitrary considering the tax is already paid to the government. It can takes years to recognize a vaccine as the cause of an injury or impairment. The result is denial of due process under the law. Expansion of the Table List and payment amounts is reasonable, considering advances in the recognition of vaccine injuries, and the increasing costs of providing care to the victims. 

Allowing injured parties to opt out of NVICP has several benefits to the public. The restoration of some liability would serve as an inducement to vaccine manufacturers to focus on producing safer products. The public needs to know that vaccine safety is taken seriously by manufacturers, doctors, and the government. 

It’s reasonable to believe that most claimants would file their cases under NVICP if the amendments listed above were to be enacted into law. The extended statute of limitations, expanded Table List of injuries (for which causation may not need to be proven) and increased payment amounts are valid reasons to do so. Attorneys fees are also paid under the program for the vast majority of cases, win or lose. 

This approach seems to strike the right balance. It ensures the supply of vaccines remains stable for the public, enhances the benefits and availability of the NVICP to those who are injured by vaccines, and establishes liability for vaccine manufacturers and doctors to ensure safer products for the public. 

Conclusion:

The Vaxxed leadership has called for complete repeal of the NVICP. This would almost certainly result in severe shortages of vaccines for those who choose to vaccinate their children, while eliminating an important option for victims seeking compensation. Parents decide the vaccination issue, and must be able to determine the compensation venue that best suits them. It’s reckless and dangerous to completely repeal NVICP, and should not be done. Amending NVICP is a common sense approach, worthy of a robust debate, and is in the public interest.

References:

1. http://vaxxedthemovie.com/about/

2. http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/index.html

3. http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/about/index.html