What is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

What is the VICP?

On October 1, 1988, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to 300aa-34) created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).  The VICP was established to guarantee that a sufficient number of vaccines were manufactured for the public, to stabilize vaccine manufacturing expenses, and most importantly, to provide an efficient forum for those who have suffered adverse effects from vaccines to obtain meaningful compensation.  The VICP is a “no-fault” compensation program, which means that individuals only need to prove that the vaccine caused the alleged injury. No proof of a defective product is required.   

Who is involved in the VICP?

  • Petitioner: This is the injured party.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):  This is the entity that defends all vaccine-related claims and in the VICP, is more commonly called, the “Respondent”.   This department is responsible for reviewing cases and issuing payment of claims.  

  • U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ):  The DOJ acts as the lawyers for HHS.

  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims: This is the Court where all cases are filed and it is located in Washington, D.C.  The Court is composed of eight (8) special masters, who collectively form the Office of Special Masters or OSM, that are appointed by the judges on the United States Court of Federal Claims.  One of the special masters serves as the “chief special master” of the VICP. The special master assigned to the case is responsible for determining both the facts and law of the case. There is no jury trial associated with these cases.

 Who funds the program?

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is funded by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund and it compensates all vaccine-related injuries or deaths for covered vaccines administered after October 1, 1988.  The Trust Fund is funded by a $0.75 excise tax on all vaccines that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for routine administration to children.

The excise tax imposed is based on the number of diseases that the vaccine is designed to inoculate against.  For example, the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which is manufactured and administered to inoculate against all three diseases, is taxed at $2.25 per vaccine. Each influenza vaccine is taxed at $0.75 per dose. This tax is collected by the Department of the Treasury, which also manages the Trust Fund’s investments of the excise tax.  Currently, the vaccine fund totals approximately $3.8 billion, and growing.

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If you or a loved one has been injured by a vaccine, please contact our attorneys immediately for a free consultation at 215 462 3330 or by using our online contact form.