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February 2011
Patient Care and Science
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that people who believe they were injured by improperly designed vaccines must rely on the compensation system that Congress created in the 1980s and may not sue vaccine manufacturers.

The Feb. 22 ruling was applauded by immunization advocates, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which had filed an amici curiae (friends of the court) brief that IDSA and 20 other health organizations signed onto last year. (See IDSA News, July/August 2010.)

Congress created the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program—known as the Vaccine Court—in 1986 as a no-fault alternative to compensate the families of children who suffer from rare adverse reactions caused by vaccines, and to protect the nation’s vaccine supply, which had been threatened at the time by mounting lawsuits and rising insurance premiums.

“Today’s ruling preserves the Vaccine Court … as the first entry point for families seeking compensation for injuries caused by childhood vaccines,” said an AAP press release. “By providing an avenue for vaccine injury claims separate from the traditional litigation process, the Vaccine Court has expedited compensation for families in need, prevented manufacturers from abandoning the vaccine market, and ensured a stable supply of vaccines to protect against countless childhood diseases.”

Read the Supreme Court ruling at: www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-152.pdf.
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