Vaccine Injury Compensation Payments Exceed $4 Billion

Published on December 28, 2018 by Laurie Villanueva

Less than three months into its new fiscal year, the federal government has already awarded tens-of-millions of dollars to the victims of serious vaccine injuries.

The current fiscal year – FY 2019 – began on October 1, 2018 and will run through September 30, 2019.

According to its most recent Monthly Statistical Report, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) paid more than $46 million to 116 claims between October 1 and November 30, 2018.

Total claims paid by the program since its inception in 1986 now stand at more than $4.03 billion.

So far, the NVICP has received 206 new vaccine injury petitions for FY 2019.

What is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

The federal government established the NVICP to compensate the victims of vaccine-related injuries and complications. A $.75 tax on every vaccine administered in the United States funds the program.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, roughly 75% of the vaccine injury claims paid through the program are the result of a negotiated settlement. The remaining payments were adjudicated through the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, popularly known as the “vaccine court”.

Anyone of any age can file a petition with the NVICP if they believe they were injured by a covered vaccine, including:

  • Diphtheria (e.g., DTP, DTaP, Tdap, DT, Td, TT)
  • Haemophilus influenza type b polysaccharide conjugate vaccines (e.g., Hib)
  • Hepatitis A (e.g., HAV)
  • Hepatitis B (e.g., HBV)
  • Human papillomavirus (e.g., HPV)
  • Seasonal influenza (e.g., Flu)
  • Measles (e.g., MMR)
  • Mumps (e.g., MMR, MR, M)
  • Meningococcal (e.g., MCV4, MPSV4, MenB-FHbp, MenB-4C)
  • Pertussis (e.g., DTP, DTaP, Tdap)
  • Pneumococcal conjugate (e.g., PCV)
  • Polio (e.g., OPV or IPV)
  • Rotavirus (e.g., RV)
  • Rubella (e.g., MMR, MR, R)
  • Tetanus (e.g., Td)
  • Varicella/Chickenpox (e.g., VAR)

Parents, legal guardians, and legal representatives can file a vaccine injury petition on behalf of children, disabled adults, and deceased individuals.

Common Vaccine Injuries

The program’s Vaccine Injury Table  lists injuries and/or conditions associated with some covered vaccines.

Nearly half of the vaccine injury claims paid through the program during FY 2018 involved SIRVA (Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration), a painful shoulder injury that occurs when a shot is administered incorrectly.

The seasonal flu vaccine – the most frequently administered shot in the United States – accounts for the majority of SIRVA claims. In fact, during FY 2017, 67% of SIRVA claims compensated by the NVICP involved the influenza vaccine.

Other vaccine-related injuries include:

  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
  • Transverse Myelitis (TM)
  • Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
  • Brachial Neuritis
  • Dermatomyositis or JDM
  • Neuromyelitis Optica or Optic Neuritis
  • Intussusception & Rotavirus Vaccine
  • Narcolepsy
  • Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura

Fortunately, vaccine-related injuries are extremely rare.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the NVICP compensated just 1 individual for every 1 million vaccine doses distributed in the United States from 2006 to 2016.

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