On February 22, 2011, in the case of Bruesewitz v Wyeth, the US Supreme Court preserved the crucial role of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) in ensuring the continuing availability of children's vaccines in the United States. Although at first glance the Bruesewitz case may seem to be simply a technical decision that addressed the legal intricacies of products liability law, the case has important implications for pediatricians, their patients, and the continuity of our vaccine supply.

By the 1980s, vaccines had become so successful at preventing many infectious diseases that the public was becoming much less alarmed by those diseases and much more concerned with the risk of injury from the vaccines themselves. As a result, the number of lawsuits alleging vaccine-related injuries exploded, driving manufacturers from the market and producing vaccine shortages. In 1986, the US Congress enacted the NCVIA to provide...

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