Those who suffer vaccine-related injuries are eligible for financial compensation from the federal government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. But not everyone who has been harmed by a vaccine knows about this multibillion-dollar fund.
Several federal agencies are trying to change that.
Starting next year, the Health Resources and Services Administration — which analyzes claims filed with the Program — will promote it to the public. For example, officials plan to use plain language in booklets on the VICP and to make its website more user-friendly. The Administration will target patients, healthcare providers, and adults 50 and older, including Spanish speakers.
To ensure that these new measures are working, officials in the Health Resources and Services Administration will use website metrics and track the number of retweets and shares from its social media efforts.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was created by the federal government in 1988 in response to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which required that health professionals and vaccine manufacturers report negative vaccine reactions to the government. Since then, the Program has awarded almost $3 billion to thousands of patients who suffered serious side effects from vaccines.
The VICP has been good for both manufacturers and patients. Before its creation, individuals harmed by vaccines had to sue manufacturers directly and undergo long and expensive legal battles in order to receive compensation for their injuries.
The threat of those lawsuits, meanwhile, decreased the incentive for manufacturers to produce vaccines. That was a problem, since vaccines are safe and effective for most people.
Individuals harmed by vaccines must follow several steps to receive financial compensation from the VICP.
First, their vaccine-related injury must have lasted for six months or have required hospitalization and surgery. Second, they must file a claim with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims within three years of the first symptom of their injury.
Finally, the vaccine that caused the injury must be one of the many common vaccines covered by the VICP. For the most up-to-date list, check out this vaccine injury compensation table on the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently produced a report from its 27th Annual Judicial Conference detailing this process, including how compensation is determined and how individuals receive payments. The report is available through the Court’s website.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is available to all those who suffer debilitating injuries from vaccines. The Health Resources and Services Administration’s new efforts will help even more people injured by vaccines find relief.
If you have suffered from a negative shot reaction, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, shoulder pain, or any other illness subsequent to receiving a vaccination, please contact us today. Vaccine attorney Leah Durant is available to provide you with a free telephone consultation. This vaccine attorney is a seasoned litigator whose practice is dedicated to serving those injured by vaccines.