Do NVICP settlements indicate any safety concerns for vaccines?
Misconceptions about vaccines and vaccine safety have existed for ages. Recently, though, there appears to be a growing number of people with reservations about getting vaccinations, despite the fact numerous studies have found no evidence to support a notion that vaccines cause more harm than good. Like all medications and medical procedures, adverse reactions and/or injuries can occur after vaccination, but the instance of occurrence is relatively rare. In fact, the odds are similar to those of winning the lottery. However, for those who have suffered from vaccine injury, the NVICP is available to compensate you for your injury.
The NVICP was established in the late 80s as a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system, and its aim was to reduce litigation in effort to prevent manufacturers from abandoning the business and, thereby, eliminate any potential for vaccine shortages. Since inception, the objective has been to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs, and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals who have suffered injuries from certain vaccines. Over the life of the program, the total amount paid to individuals injured by vaccines is roughly $4.2 billion.
However, that being said, the fact that petitions for these injuries are, and have been, settled should not be used to draw the conclusion that vaccines are unsafe. Settlements are just one way to quickly and efficiently resolve a petition. They are an agreement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the petitioner, but they are not an admission by HHS that the vaccine caused the alleged injuries. Instead, the decision to resolve a petition through settlement can be made for a variety of reasons, including: (a) consideration of prior court decisions; (b) mutual recognition of the fact that there is a risk of loss in proceeding to a decision by the court; (c) a mutual desire to minimize time and expense associated with litigation; and/or (d) a desire by both parties to resolve a case efficiently.
So, while vaccine injuries and/or reactions do occur, they are a relatively rare occurrence, and I would caution anyone from drawing a conclusion about the safety of a vaccine based solely on the fact that a petition alleging injury from a vaccine has been settled.