Posted by Bill Sandweg on 29 April 2019.
The news is full of stories about vaccines. While vaccines are generally safe and protect the individual and society from many of the most dangerous and deadly illnesses nature has devised, people occasionally suffer a bad reaction to a vaccination. That is where the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program comes into play.
The whole idea of vaccination is to introduce something into the body which will stimulate the patient’s immune system to develop an immunity to the subject of the vaccination. Unfortunately, we do not understand the immune system as well as we would like. It is millions of years old. It developed to protect us from the many pathogens our ancestors faced on a daily basis. Although we and our lives have changed a lot, especially in the last thousand years, our immune system has not.
As we have grown more “civilized,” we have cleaned up the environment in which we live. No more open sewers. No more eating rotten meat or produce. No more living with cows, pigs and chickens in the next room. All this means that in our advanced Western society, our immune systems don’t have as much to do as they used to. Much as idle hands are called “the Devil’s workshop,” an idle immune system can become a danger. Idle immune systems become hypervigilant while looking for a threat to attack. Sometimes they become confused and attack the body itself. These attacks are called autoimmune diseases. My grandson’s Type 1 diabetes is an example of an autoimmune disease that is on the rise in Western societies along with many others.
The same hypervigilance that causes autoimmune diseases can cause the immune system to overreact when a vaccine is administered. This overreaction can take many forms but it remains a rare occurrence. There is no legitimate question that vaccines are a great good to society and prevent much illness and death.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was created by Congress in 1986 in response to concerns that manufacturers would stop producing vaccines because of lawsuits alleging various injuries due to vaccine administration. Under the program, a person who believes that he or she has been injured by a vaccine can file a claim with the Office of Special Masters of the United States Court of Federal Claims. The Office of Special Masters hears these cases and makes awards based on the damages suffered by the patient. Most importantly, the system is a no-fault system. That means that the patient need not prove that a mistake was made or that someone did something wrong. All they must prove is that they received a vaccine and were injured by the vaccine. It is also significant that the patient need not pay for an attorney to represent him or her before the “vaccine court.” The program provides that the lawyer is compensated by the program and not by the patient.
If you believe you have been injured by a vaccine, we are here to help. Give us a call and see if your injury is one which can be submitted to the Vaccine Court for compensation.