$4 Billion and Growing: U.S. Payouts for Vaccine Injuries and Deaths Keep Climbing • Children’s Health Defense
Over the vaccine court’s 30-year history, individuals and families have filed over 20,000 petitions for vaccine injury compensation. This month, even as 12% of filed petitions remained unadjudicated, the payouts crossed over the $4 billion threshold. This amount was awarded in response to barely a third (31% or 6,276) of the filed petitions. There is no telling how much more money the taxpayer-funded program might have shelled out if the court had not chosen to dismiss the remaining petitions (56%)—possibly doing so fraudulently in at least some cases.
Running the Gauntlet
Over the three decades, despite the stated intent to furnish an “accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by certain vaccines,” the NVICP has devolved into a protracted and litigious David-versus-Goliath battleground. The vaccine court, in actuality, is “not a court at all but…a consumer-funded government claims program that uses…employees of Health and Human Services (HHS), rather than judges to make decisions on compensation.” While government-funded Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers vigorously represent and defend the interests of HHS and vaccine manufacturers, the consumer-unfriendly system forces the vaccine-injured to meet an exceptionally high burden of proof. For dismissed claims, there is no assurance that the program will even cover attorneys’ fees and costs.
Children’s Health Defense recently called attention to a glaring example of the NVICP’s pro-industry and anti-vaccine-injured bias. In 2007 and 2008, DOJ attorneys exhibited “highly unethical and appallingly consequential official misconduct” during an Omnibus Autism Proceeding (OAP) orchestrated to determine the fate of 5,400 families who had filed claims for vaccine-induced autism. The potential value of the claims exceeded $100 billion—an amount that “would have bankrupted the [compensation] program many times over.” HHS’s Department of Justice lawyers, “under pressure” to deprive petitioners of their rightful relief, successfully achieved that aim through allegedly fraudulent means. In September 2018, Children’s Health Defense Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Rolf Hazlehurst (parent of one of the vaccine-injured children involved in the OAP) requested that the DOJ Inspector General and Congress investigate this fraud and obstruction of justice by HHS and DOJ officials.