According to government statistics, in 2017, there were more than 1,200 petitions that claimed people experienced a variety of vaccine injuries in the United States. This is the largest number of vaccine injury claims in the U.S. within the last decade or longer.
A total of 1,243 petitions were filed from October 2016 and September 2017 with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The filings amount to 11 percent more than those filed in 2016 at 1,120 and three times more than those filed in 2006. That year, there were only 325 claims filed.
The 2017 fiscal year began on October 1, 2017. As of February 1, 2018 there were 416 vaccine injury claims filed. While the number of new claims has varied over the years, they have generally been increasing year after year in the last decade.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, between 2000 and 2016, there were over 3.1 billion doses of vaccines covered by VICP in the country. During that time period, 3,583 out of 5,301 injury petitions were granted compensation by courts. This equates to one person being compensated for every million doses of vaccines given.
What is the National Vaccine Compensation Program?
The National Vaccine Compensation Program is a federally-run program that aims to protect vaccine manufacturers and those who provide and administer them. At the same time, the program also compensates people injured by vaccines. It operates on a no-fault system that dates back to the 1980s as a result of lawsuits threatening the vaccine industry. Under the system, individuals who claim to have suffered injuries from vaccines don’t have to prove fault by anyone or by an entity, only that a vaccine caused their injuries. Attorney’s fees are also paid through the system.
Many types of vaccinations are covered through the program. However, some are not, such as the shingles vaccine. Those covered include shots for the flu, measles, mumps and rubella, polio, hepatitis A and B, meningococcal, pneumococcal conjugate, rotavirus and varicella.
What are the Most Common Vaccines?
The most commonly administered vaccines are for the flu. Between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2016, there were close to 1.4 billion flu vaccines given. Trap, for diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus, was the next highest at 225 million vaccines administered. During that period, there were 2,765 claims filed for injuries occurring from flu vaccines. The court granted compensation to victims for 2,399 of the flu claims and dismissed 366. There were 349 Tdap claims filed, 297 of which were granted compensation.
Rule Change May Affect Claims
There was a change to the process that took effect in February 2017 that lightens the restrictions on filing. As a result, it might affect the number of vaccine injury claims that are filed.
This change to the rules can make it easier for people who developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) after receiving the flu vaccine and a shoulder injury stemming from the administration of any covered vaccine (SIRVA) to file claims.
If symptoms of GBS appear within three to 42 days after the administration of a flu vaccine or SIRVA appears within 48 hours of a covered vaccine, it will be an assumption that the injuries were directly caused by the vaccine. This can spare patients from having to deliver evidence, including expert opinions, when trying to collect compensation on a claim.
Additionally, the change will also let individuals who were previously barred from filing a claim to do so. People can file a petition for up to two years after this change went into effect if their injuries occurred eight years prior or more recently.
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