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Dorit Rubinstein Reiss

This article is by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy and the law.  Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease.

LAUSD vaccine mandate

Bad Appeals Court decision on LAUSD vaccine mandate

On June 7, 2024, the Ninth Circuit Court revived a lawsuit against LAUSD’s COVID vaccine mandate, despite its repeal. The decision acknowledged the plaintiffs’ allegations that the vaccines do not prevent transmission, but anti-vaccine activists misinterpreted this as the court finding COVID vaccines to be treatments. The case could still be deemed moot.

Nicole Shanahan

RFK Jr running mate Nicole Shanahan — anti-vaccine tropes

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a law professor, critiques Nicole Shanahan’s misunderstanding of vaccine compensation systems and adverse event monitoring, following Shanahan’s inaccurate tweets. Shanahan, running mate of anti-vaccine presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., incorrectly identified VAERS as a compensatory body and propagated misconceptions about vaccine injuries and compensation responsibilities. Reiss clarifies the role of VAERS, explaining its function as a monitoring database not involved in compensation, and discusses the actual compensation systems (VICP and CICP), emphasizing their benefits over the tort system proposed by Shanahan. Reiss’s article aims to correct misinformation and advocate for accurate understanding of vaccine safety and compensation mechanisms.

close up photo of a wooden gavel

Judge in Gardasil lawsuit throws out most claims

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a law professor and vaccination policy expert, discusses a federal judge’s recent decision in the Gardasil lawsuit, which barred several claims against Merck as preempted by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act but permitted discovery to proceed on claims involving failure to warn the plaintiffs’ doctors and fraudulent concealment. This pivotal ruling reduced the scope of the plaintiffs’ cases, originally marked by broad allegations, to more specific claims of deficient warnings to healthcare providers and concealed risks, despite substantial evidence against the alleged harms of the HPV vaccine.

Merck mumps vaccine lawsuit

District Court dismisses 2010 Merck mumps vaccine lawsuit

In July 2023, a False Claims Act lawsuit against Merck, alleging fraud related to the mumps vaccine, was dismissed due to lack of material evidence. The court found that the government’s decision to contract with Merck was based on its own data about effectiveness, rendering any misrepresentations by Merck immaterial. The lawsuit has been appealed to the Third Circuit.