This article about the vaccine court and SIRVA claims was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who 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 a 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. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.
In this article, we are going to take a look at how “shoulder injury related to vaccine administration” (SIRVA) relates to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), often called the Vaccine Court, claims. In 1986, the United States Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which among other things created the NVICP. The act’s main goal was to protect vaccine manufacturers from vaccine injury claims and liability–but not for the reasons you might think.
Congress was rightly concerned that the costs for these legal actions were going to drive most, if not all, manufacturers from the USA market. That would have been a horrific problem for the country, with no ability to protect children from deadly and dangerous diseases.
The NVICP provides a no-fault program to resolve vaccine injury claims – “quickly, easily, with certainty and generosity.” The program was (and continues to be) funded by a tax on all vaccines sold in the country. Moreover, using a system of expert administrative “judges” (called Special Masters), a petitioner seeking to establish causation-in-fact must show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that but for the vaccination, they would not have been injured, and that the vaccination was a substantial factor in bringing about their injury.
Read More »A review of how the vaccine court deals with SIRVA claims