Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a no-fault fund set up in 1988 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to indemnify medical doctors and vaccine manufacturers from liability in cases of injuries caused by vaccines.
The maximum benefit for death is $250,000 plus attorneys' fees. "The total awards paid [from the Compensation Trust Fund] as of August 6, 2008 were $1,804,415,262.35, which includes [government] attorney fees and costs for petitions that were dismissed." As of 2007, the fund had paid out $1.18 billion to 1,500 victims, including attorneys' fees, burial and medical costs, for an average payout that exceeds $786,000 per victim.
The vaccines covered by the compensation service are those aimed at protecting against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), polio, hepatitis B, varicella (chicken pox), Hemophilus influenzae type b, and rotavirus. Pneumococcal vaccine is expected to be covered soon.
Criticisms of the program
Under the no-fault VICP system, medical doctors have no financial risk in recommending vaccinations because the government indemnifies them and their malpractice insurance against tort claims resulting from vaccine injuries.
VICP requires a $250 filing fee, and requires the mother of the victim to submit her own prenatal medical records for scrutiny. The average claim takes two years to resolve. These hurdles discourage the filing of smaller claims, such as lost wages and costs associated with short term hospitalization for high fever and dehydration not causing permanent damage. The maximum benefit for death is $250,000 plus attorneys' fees. Thomas E. Balbier, Jr. testified that "there are going to be eligibility requirements which seem unfair to some applicants."
- United States Department of Health and Human Services 2008
- Email dated Aug. 7, 2008, from Geoffrey Evans, MD, Director, Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation. He added, "To obtain further information you seek, please visit our web site at: www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation."
- United States Department of Justice 2000
- Balbier 1999
- Balbier, Thomas E., Jr. (1999-09-28), Statement on National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program by Thomas E. Balbier, Jr., United States Government retrieved on 2008-01-21
- Pear, Robert (2008-01-21), Threats and Responses: Leagal Risks; For Victims of Vaccine, Winning Case Will Be Hard, The New York Times retrieved on 2008-01-21
- United States Department of Justice, USDOJ (2000-11-27), About the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, United States Government retrieved on 2008-01-21
- United States Department of Health and Human Services, HRSA (2008), Filing a Claim with the VICP, United States Government retrieved on 2008-01-21
- United States Department of Health and Human Services, HRSA (2007-04-20), National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) About VICP, United States Government retrieved on 2008-01-21