UNANSWERED QUESTIONS FROM THE VACCINE INJURY COMPENSATION PROGRAM:

A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine- Induced Brain Injury

Pace Environmental Law Review

March 28, 2100
MARY HOLLAND, LOUIS CONTE, ROBERT KRAKOW AND LISA COLIN*

INTRODUCTION

Is the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“VICP”) of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims a fair forum? This is not a trivial question as it is the only forum in which parents may bring claims for vaccine injury to their children. Under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (“1986 Law”), Congress created an administrative forum that it meant to ensure simple
justice for children; it gave the VICP original jurisdiction for all vaccine injury claims. Because almost all U.S. children must receive vaccinations to be able to attend daycare and school, it is of utmost importance that this tribunal provides equitable treatment, transparency, and justice to those children who have the grave misfortune to be injured by the very vaccines intended to keep them healthy.

The VICP has had a mixed history in the eyes of the families of the vaccine-­injured. While some parents of vaccine-­ injured children supported the 1986 Law, over time many came to view it with “bitter disappointment.” Already by the mid-­1990’s, HHS had reduced the grounds for presumptive causation, and thus recovery, for vaccine injury in ways that many observers found troubling. But the VICP’s greatest challenge yet lay ahead.

That challenge began in 2002, when nearly five thousand families filed petitions with the VICP claiming that vaccines had caused their children’s neurological disorder called “autism.”

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*Mary Holland, Research Scholar and Director of the Graduate Legal Skills
Program, NYU School of Law; Louis Conte, independent investigator; and
Robert Krakow and Lisa Colin, attorneys in private practice. Pace Law School provided significant research support for this study. The authors thank former Environmental Law Dean Alexandra Dunn and law students Jillian Petrera,Kyle Caffrey, Sohad Jamal, Alison Kaplan, Georgine Bells, Jonne Ronquillo, Lisa Hatem, Allison Kazi and Adrienne Fortin. The authors also thank volunteers who worked under the direction of Louis Conte. For purposes of disclosure, Robert Krakow and Lisa Colin represent clients and have claims on behalf of family members in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.