Vaccine injuries may be rare. When they do occur, there's a set of rules that apply. Lommen Abdo has prepared this brief guide to assist you when determining how and when to pursue an apparent injury resulting from a vaccination.
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP)
The NVICP (the Act), established by Congress in 1986, is a no-fault program to compensate persons injured by receiving certain vaccines. The program is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). All claims are filed with the United States Court of Federal Claims where they are reviewed and decided by Special Masters appointed by the Court.
Compensation Funded by Surcharge on Vaccines
The NVICP is funded through a surcharge paid by the vaccine manufacturer on each vaccine dose sold. In cases where death results from the receipt of a vaccine, the amount of compensation is capped at $250,000. When the vaccine injured person is alive, a Special Master will determine the amount of compensation for actual past and expected future non-reimbursed expenses directly related to the vaccine injury. The award also may include compensation for pain and suffering, as well as impaired earning capacity. The Act provides for recovery of attorney fees and costs in bringing the petition.
Healthcare Provider’s Role in Recognizing an Adverse Event
When vaccine-related injuries occur, the symptoms presented may be difficult to link back to a vaccination because they may mimic those of another disorder. To help guide the healthcare provider, the DHHS has developed a Vaccine Injury Table (www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vaccinetable.html) that lists certain adverse events that are presumptively associated with covered vaccines if the first symptoms or manifestation of onset of that injury occur within certain prescribed times. These injuries include anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, brachial neuritis, encephalopathy or encephalitis, chronic arthritis, thrombocytopenic purpura, vaccine-strain measles viral infection, paralytic polio, vaccine-strain polio viral infection and intussusception.
In addition, some vaccines have been linked to several disorders, including:
• Chronic immune demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
• Acute demyelinating encephalopathic myopathy (ADEM)
• Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)
• Other demyelinating central nervous system disorders or peripheral nervous system disorders
Other injuries or adverse events, not specifically identified by the Act, may be associated with the receipt of a vaccine listed on the table. These are referred to as "off-table" injuries. The Act does not recognize an automatic presumption of cause-effect in such injuries. The person making such a claim will need medical evidence that the injury was "caused-in-fact" by the vaccine in question.
Vaccines Covered by the Program
The Vaccine Injury Table identifies the vaccines for which compensation is available, including:
• DTaP, DTaP-Hib, DT
• DTP, P, DTP/Polio combination
• Hemophilus influenzae type b vaccines
• Hepatitis A vaccines
• Hepatitis B antigen-containing vaccines
• Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) or any vaccine containing any of those components
• Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines
• Polio Vaccines (live and inactivated)
• Rotavirus vaccine
• Td or Tetanus Toxoid
• Trivalent influenza vaccines (injectable and nasal spray)
• Varicella vaccine
• Meningococcal vaccines
• Human Papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines
A complete listing of vaccines covered by the Act can be found at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vaccinetable.html.
Adults and Children Can Be Affected
Because of recurring publicity surrounding vaccine-related injuries, one might assume that only children are affected by adverse reactions to selected vaccines. However, adults also may present with adverse reactions that should be investigated and diagnosed when debilitating symptoms occur within the specified time limits following a vaccination. For example, a former firefighter developed rheumatoid arthritis following a HepB vaccination required by his fire department.
VAERS Report and NVICP Claim Separate Actions
Submitting a report to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) is NOT the same as filing a claim under the NVICP. VAERS and NVICP are two separate distinct programs. The NVICP Act requires all medical providers to report adverse events to receipt of vaccines to the VAERS. This system is run by the FDA and CDC and is a means for them to gather statistics on adverse vaccine events from the front line providers. To obtain a VAERS adverse incident report form call 800-822-7967.
Who May Bring a Claim?
Any person who has sustained a vaccine injury, the legal representative of such person if the person is disabled or a minor, or the legal representative of any person who died as the result of the administration of a covered vaccine may bring a claim. To be eligible to file a claim, the effects of the person’s injury must have:
1. lasted for more than 6 months; or
2. resulted in a hospital stay or surgery; or
3. resulted in death.
All claims for compensation under the Act must be brought within 36 months of the date of the first symptom of injury, or the manifestation of onset of injury, or of the significant aggravation of a prior condition because of receiving a covered vaccine. A petition must be filed with the Court of Federal Claims in Washington D.C. Medical records and other pertinent information regarding the injury claimed must be filed with the petition. A petitioner may choose to represent themselves or may elect to have an attorney who is admitted in the Court of Federal Claims represent them.
For more information on the specific information required to file a claim, you may contact:
|National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Parklawn Building Room 11C-26
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
||U.S. Court of Federal Claims
717 Madison Place NW
Washington, DC 20005
Sheila A. Bjorklund, JD, RN, PHN, brings an extensive background in health care administration as well as direct patient care to her practice of law. Ms. Bjorklund represents individuals who are believed to be injured by vaccines before the Federal Vaccine Court. She is admitted to the Court of Federal Claims and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. She is a member of the CFC Bar Association and the Vaccine Petitioner’s Bar Association.
Kate Westad focuses her practice on personal injury matters, including vaccine injuries before the Federal Vaccine Court and the Court of Federal Claims. Ms. Westad’s work also involves motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice and products liability. Because of her passion for preventing injuries, she has launched the public service campaign, Focus on the Road®, which can be found on www.WomenInjuryLawyers.com. The campaign draws attention to distraction driving and reminds us all to Focus on the Road®!
Ms. Westad has repeatedly been listed as a Rising Star by Minnesota Super Lawyers® and was also included as an “Up and Coming Attorney” by Minnesota Lawyer. One of her personal injury cases was included in Lawsuits of the Year for 2008.
We would be pleased to answer any questions you may have about the services of our Vaccine Litigation attorneys. Any questions may be directed to:
Sheila Bjorklund at 612-336-9312 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Kate Westad at 612-336-9322 or email@example.com
Sheila Bjorklund at 612-336-9312 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or any of the attorneys in this practice area pictured below.
For details about vaccine-related injuries, click on the following links:
View our brochure about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
"Do Vaccines Cause Autism?"
Sheila Bjorklund was interviewed in Minnesota Law & Politics. The article concerns the work she was doing with the "Vaccine Court."
Interview with Dr. Bernadine Healy by CBS News
Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former head of the National Institutes of Health, says that public health officials have been too quick to dismiss the question of a link between vaccines and autism. She is the most well-known medical voice yet to break with her colleagues on the vaccine-autism question.
National Program Takes Significant Step To Sort Out Vaccine/Autism Causation Issue
About five thousand cases have been filed with the NVICP on behalf of children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as PDDNOS or Autism; these cases allege that the children were injured through exposure to Thimerosal contained in childhood vaccines.
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Government health officials have conceded that childhood vaccines worsened a rare, underlying disorder that ultimately led to autism-like symptoms in a Georgia girl, and that she should be paid from a federal vaccine injury fund.
Lommen Abdo Provides Vaccine Injury Information
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Former public health nurse turned attorney Sheila Bjorklund of Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg, P.A., was the first to prevail nationally on a high profile bar issue in a 2003 Minnesota case against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, representing a boy who developed autism after getting his childhood vaccinations.
Sheila Bjorklund Participates in Autism Causation Proceeding
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Causation Portion of Thimerosal/Autism Vaccine Proceeding Began on June 11
After nearly five years of preparation, the first test case for claims in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding in the United States Court of Federal Claims began on June 11, 2007 in the U.S. Federal Circuit Courthouse in Washington, D.C.
Causation Hearing: How to Listen In
The first Omnibus Autism Proceeding hearing on whether or not there is a causal connection between receipt of childhood vaccines and exposure to ethylmercury (thimerosal) through receipt of certain of those vaccines started on June 11, 2007 in Washington, D.C.
Thimerosal Vaccine Causation Hearing Expected in Late 2006
Thimerosal vaccine litigation is alive, well and moving slowly forward to resolution. As you may be aware, under the Federal National Vaccine Compensation Program ("Program"), persons who have sustained an injury because of the receipt of certain vaccines can seek compensation for their injuries.
Have You Sustained a Vaccine-Related Injury? Get Information About Your Legal Rights
A National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established in 1986 after reports of harmful side effects from DPT (deptheria, pertussis, tetanus) vaccinations were perceived as posing “liability concerns” for vaccine manufacturers.
Firm Obtains Landmark Vaccine Decision
Sheila Bjorklund, a partner at Lommen Nelson, has obtained the first decision in the country on when the statute of limitations begins to run in cases alleging that childhood vaccines caused or triggered autism.
Lommen Nelson Explores Possible Link Between Childhood Vaccines and Autism
Over the past 10 years, there appears to have been an increase in the diagnosis of autism in children. In the same time period, children have been exposed to increased amounts of thimerosal, a used in childhood vaccines. Thimerosal is a toxic organic mercury.