The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (the Act) established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) as a federal "no-fault" compensation system for individuals who may have been injured by specific covered vaccines. Entering its ninth year of operation, the VICP has ensured childhood vaccine supplies by dramatically reducing vaccine companies' and providers' liability that threatened the production of vaccines during the 1980s. The VICP has received 5057 petitions filed for possible injury from vaccines covered under the VICP, including 4240 filed for vaccines administered before October 1988, and 817 for vaccines administered between October 1988 and August 1996. Over 3700 claims have been adjudicated, 985 of which have been found to be compensable, and the remainder have been dismissed.

The Vaccine Injury Table (the Table) lists specific injuries or conditions and timeframes after vaccination that may be compensated under the VICP. The Table establishes legal presumptions about causation, which are used by the US Court of Federal Claims (the Court) to adjudicate petitions. The VICP covers seven "childhood" vaccines: diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio.

Effective March 10, 1995, the Table was revised to better reflect current scientific knowledge about vaccine injuries (Table 1). As part of the Act, Congress mandated a review of the scientific literature and other information on specific adverse consequences of pertussis and rubella vaccines. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) performed and published a report of this review in 1991, and a review of a follow-up study of the National Childhood Encephalopathy Study in 1994.

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