Vaccine Injury Lawyers: Frequently Asked Questions
Downing, Allison & Jorgenson National Vaccine Injury Lawyers is led by vaccine injury attorney Andrew Downing. The firm is exclusively dedicated to the practice of vaccine injury law. The firm helps clients across the nation with their vaccine injury claims, especially claims made to the Vaccine Injury Claims Program (VICP). If you or someone you loved has been injured by a vaccine, Downing, Allison & Jorgenson National Vaccine Injury Lawyers can help.
Do you represent clients in my state?
Yes. The firm has a nationwide practice, and represents clients who have claims originating in all 50 states. The firm also represents United States military families with vaccine injuries worldwide.
How does the VICP get money to pay claims?
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund provides funding for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to compensate vaccine-related injury or death claims. It is funded by a $0.75 excise tax on vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for routine administration to children. The excise tax is imposed on each dose of a vaccine. Trivalent influenza vaccine for example, is taxed $0.75 because it prevents one disease; measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which prevents three diseases, is taxed $2.25. The Department of Treasury collects the excise taxes and manages the Fund’s investments.
If a new vaccine product is licensed, what needs to occur before the vaccine will be covered by the VICP?
It depends on whether the vaccine falls within a category of vaccines already covered by the VICP. If the vaccine is of a type that is already covered by the VICP, then the vaccine is already covered even before the date of licensure. For example, hepatitis B vaccines are covered under the Program under Category VIII of the Vaccine Injury Table. If a new hepatitis B vaccine is licensed in the U.S., it is already automatically covered under the VICP. If the vaccine is of a type that is not already covered by the VICP (e.g., yellow fever vaccines), then the vaccine will not be covered under the VICP until the general category of vaccines is covered. In order for a category of vaccines to be covered, the vaccines must be recommended for routine administration to children by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, subject to an excise tax by federal law, and added to the VICP by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Are vaccine-related injuries or deaths relating to vaccines that are not yet licensed in the U.S. compensable under the VICP?
Yes, as long as other eligibility requirements are satisfied. An otherwise eligible person who receives a vaccine that is under a category of vaccines covered by the VICP within the applicable time limits would be entitled to apply for compensation under the VICP even if the vaccine is not licensed in the U.S.
Are there age restrictions on who may file a claim with the VICP?
No. Claims may be filed on behalf of infants, children and adolescents, or by adults receiving VICP-covered vaccines. Other legal requirements, such as the statute of limitations for filing an injury or death claim, must be satisfied in order to pursue compensation.
Are adults who think that they have been injured after receiving influenza vaccines eligible to file claims with the VICP?
Yes. An otherwise eligible person (who may be a child or an adult) who receives an influenza vaccine in the U.S. within the applicable time limits would be eligible to apply for compensation under the VICP even if the vaccine administered is licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exclusively for adults.
Are individuals who receive a covered vaccine outside of the U.S. eligible to file a claim with the VICP?
It depends. If a person received a vaccine covered by the VICP outside of the U.S. (or its trust territories), he or she may be eligible for compensation if: (1) the person was, at the time of vaccination, a U.S. citizen serving abroad as a member of the Armed Forces or as an employee of the U.S., or a dependent of such a citizen; or (2) the vaccine’s manufacturer was located in the U.S. and the person returned to the U.S. within 6 months after the date of vaccination.
If I received both the seasonal flu vaccine and the 2009 H1N1 vaccine and suffered a serious injury, can I file a claim with both the CICP and the VICP?
Yes. The CICP covers several vaccines, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) also covers many vaccines, including the seasonal flu vaccine. Since the vaccines are covered under two different programs, you may wish to file in one or both programs. But, depending on your circumstances, you may not be eligible to receive compensation under both programs, or under either program.
Does the VICP cover influenza vaccines?
Yes. To be eligible for compensation, claims must be filed: within three years after the first symptom of the vaccine injury; or within two years of the vaccine-related death and not more than four years after the start of the first symptom of the vaccine-related injury from which the death occurred.
Are all pneumococcal vaccines covered by the VICP?
No, all pneumococcal vaccines are not covered by the VICP. There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines given in the U.S. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13), which is administered routinely to infants and children up to age 5, and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23), which is given to adults age 65 and older and individuals of varying age with certain medical conditions making them at higher risk for pneumococcal infection. The VICP covers only the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). Since 1999, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine has been covered under Category XIII of the Vaccine Injury Table. To be eligible for compensation, claims must be filed: within three years after the first symptom of the vaccine injury; or within two years of the vaccine-related death and not more than four years after the start of the first symptom of the vaccine-related injury from which the death occurred.
Is the human papillomavirus vaccine covered under the VICP?
Yes. Individuals thought to be injured by the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine may be eligible for compensation from the VICP as of Feb. 1, 2007. This coverage permits individuals to file a claim for compensation beginning on Feb. 1, 2007. To be eligible for compensation, claims must be filed within one of the following periods: within three years after the first symptom of the vaccine injury; or within two years of the vaccine-related death and four years after the start of the first symptom of the vaccine-related injury from which the death occurred.
Does the VICP cover meningococcal vaccines?
Yes. Individuals thought to be injured by the meningococcal (conjugate and polysaccharide) vaccines may be eligible for compensation from the VICP as of Feb. 1, 2007. This coverage permits individuals to file a claim for compensation beginning on February 1, 2007. To be eligible for compensation, claims must be filed within one of the following periods: within three years after the first symptom of the vaccine injury; or within two years of the vaccine-related death and four years after the start of the first symptom of the vaccine-related injury from which the death occurred.
What vaccine liability protection is afforded to vaccine administrators?
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is an alternative to the tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims. Whether a vaccine administrator is afforded the liability protections of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, as amended, (the Act) depends upon whether the vaccine is covered under the VICP. Under the Act, persons with claims of vaccine-related injuries or deaths resulting from covered vaccines must first exhaust their remedies under the VICP before they can pursue legal actions against vaccine administrators. In order to exhaust the remedies available under the VICP and pursue a legal action against a vaccine administrator outside of the VICP, a VICP petitioner must either withdraw his or her petition (if the special master of the Court has failed to issue a decision or the Court has failed to enter judgment within the time provided by the Act) or reject the judgment under the VICP. Although the Act provides liability protections to vaccine administrators who administer covered vaccines in some circumstances, these protections are not absolute. There are instances when a vaccine administrator who gives a covered vaccine is not protected from liability by the Act, such as when an individual files a claim and is requesting damages of $1,000 or less. In this case, the individual is not able to file a claim under the VICP and may be permitted to file a civil suit against the vaccine administrator in a state or federal court. In addition, if the VICP has paid a petitioner for a vaccine-related injury, the VICP may be able to pursue its own action against a vaccine administrator using its subrogation rights.
Is eligibility to receive compensation under the VICP affected by whether a covered vaccine, such as Tdap, is administered “off-label” or against ACIP administration recommendations?
No, eligibility for the VICP is not affected by the standard of care in administration of a vaccine. In other words, an individual may file a petition and be eligible for compensation regardless of negligence of the administrator. The VICP is a “no-fault” compensation program. Generally, petitioners need only show that the injured person received a vaccine set forth in the Vaccine Injury Table (a “covered” vaccine); and sustained an injury that is set forth on the Table, or that the injury was caused by the vaccine (if the injury is not listed on the Table).
To be a covered vaccine, a vaccine must be recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for routine administration to children, and subject to an excise tax imposed by Congress. There are no requirements that the petitioner show that the vaccine was used pursuant to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling or specific Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) administration recommendations, or otherwise was administered pursuant to any standard of care. Individuals may pursue a civil action against negligent administrators, albeit in a limited context. Individuals must first (1) go through the VICP; (2) obtain a judgment by the Court of Federal Claims; and (3) file an election to reject the judgment and to pursue a civil action for damages.
Do You Need A Vaccine Injury Lawyer? Call Today.
The vaccine injury attorneys at Downing, Allison & Jorgenson National Vaccine Injury Lawyers are licensed to practice in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. They have the experience to answer all of your questions related to the VICP and possible claims for a vaccine injury. Call them today at Call or email using the online contact form to schedule your free consultations. Strict filing deadlines apply, so don’t wait. Call today.