Vaccines and The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
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CitationVaccines and The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (2000 Third Year Paper)
AbstractThe federal government plays a leading role in vaccination by funding vaccine administration and by integrating the immunization efforts of the public and private sectors on national, state and local levels. Congress repeatedly reaffirms this role of the federal government in order to ensure that the United States maintains a consistent national policy on childhood vaccination. In 1986, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act ("Vaccine Act"). This legislation establishes a National Vaccine Program "to achieve optimal prevention of human infectious diseases through immunization and to achieve optimal prevention against adverse reactions to vaccines." The Vaccine Act also institutes the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program ("NVICP"), a federal, no-fault compensation system which awards money to the victims of vaccine-related injuries and death. This paper describes the FDA's role in ensuring the safety of vaccines, the civil litigation alternative to compensation, and the events leading up to the passage of the Vaccine Act. The paper, however, focuses on the NVICP, the actual operation of this compensation program, and the program's effects on the compensation and prevention of adverse reactions to mandatory vaccinations. The paper also examines whether Congress's goals in passing the Vaccine Act have been achieved and what reforms may be necessary in order to further these goals.
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