Should vaccine manufacturers still be shielded from liability?

For the past 30 years, the companies that make vaccines have been largely shielded from lawsuits for their negligence. Instead, if you are injured by a vaccine, you seek compensation through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). That program is funded by taxpayers, and provides compensation to individuals who have suffered serious injuries as a result of a vaccine.

As of November 1, 2016, VICP has paid $3.5 billion to injured vaccine victims.

How did VICP start?

The federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) was originally created in the 1980s. At that time, lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers and health care providers would have resulted in a shortage of vaccines and lower rates of vaccination.

As a result, congress enacted the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986. This act limited liability for vaccine manufacturers and health care providers by creating the VICP. During Vaccine Awareness Week in mid-November and the 30th anniversary of this act, the National Vaccine Information Network called for an end to this liability shield.

What would it mean if VICP ended?

Under the current federal program, nearly two-thirds of vaccine injury claims are denied. By removing this program, injured victims of vaccines can seek compensation through the courts. This will allow them to hold the companies liable and accountable for the injuries they cause.

However, by opening up manufacturers and health care providers to liability, it could put mandatory vaccinations at risk. This could lead to an increase in preventable diseases. On the flip side, if manufacturers are held accountable for the injuries caused by their negligence, then these businesses may improve their processes and the quality of their vaccines to avoid lawsuits.

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