Funding the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP)
The United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history, and, in the majority of cases, these vaccines produce no side effects. However, as with any medication, side effects can occur. While most are mild, people do experience more serious side effects. In those instances, the person may be eligible to file a petition for compensation with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
The VICP was established in the late 80s as a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system, after numerous lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers and healthcare providers threatened to cause vaccine shortages and reduce vaccine rates. Its aim was to reduce litigation in effort to prevent manufacturers from abandoning the business, thereby eliminating any potential for 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. In fact, the total amount paid over the life of the VICP is roughly $4.2 billion.
With a figure that high, one might wonder where the funding for the VICP comes from, but – no need to worry – the answer is not “your taxes.” The program actually receives its funding from the Vaccine Injury Trust Fund. The fund is financed by a $.75 excise tax on vaccines. That tax is paid by the vaccine manufactures and is imposed per dose (i.e., disease that is prevented) of the vaccine being manufactured. In other words, a vaccine that prevents only one disease is taxed only $.75, but a vaccine that prevents against numerous diseases is taxed greater. For example, the Trivalent influenza vaccine prevents only the flu so its tax is just $.75, but a vaccine like MMR would be taxed $2.25 as it prevents against measles, mumps, and rubella. Ultimately, all taxes are collected by the Department of Treasury and deposited into the Vaccine Injury Trust Fund.
While there’s no question that vaccines are a great benefit to society and, for the most part, are safe and effective, injuries and/or severe reactions can occur. So, if you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a vaccine, give us a call to discuss whether you are eligible for compensation. Our team has extensive experience handling petitions within the VICP and are here to help.