Delays in the VICP- How Did We Get Here?
Vaccines are critically important to our national health policy. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is supposed to help the small number of people who experience a severe reaction or even death after getting a vaccination. The types of reactions range from neurological injuries to shoulder injuries.
The VICP was created with two goals in mind: promote the development of new vaccines and compensate vaccine injured children and adults. It has been remarkably successful in the first goal, and as a result, is now struggling with the second goal.
The VICP is now 34 years old, and Congress has failed to update the VICP’s infrastructure or judicial staffing in over three decades. That failure has reached a critical point.
The Most Pressing Issue: Not enough judges, called Special Masters, to hear the claims. There were 8 judges in the 1980’s and there are still only 8 judges today.
The number of cases filed in the last 10 years alone has QUADRUPLED from 386 in 2011 to 2,060 cases in 2021.
The reason for the growth in claims is simply that over the past three decades HHS raised the number of covered vaccines from 6 to 16, including the annual flu shot. Going from children who receive a set number of vaccines for a few years to everyone every year dramatically increases the number of people who can potentially file a claim. This created an overwhelming backlog of claims. There are now nearly 4,000 open cases with only 8 special masters to hear them.
Today, vaccine injured children and adults are waiting 2 to 3 years just to schedule a trial in the Vaccine Court simply because there is no room on the Court’s docket. Keep in mind – scheduling a trial often comes years after the case is filed.
A system designed to help people quickly is OVERWHELMED and at a breaking point. People are dying before their claims have even been heard.
Congress must ensure that the VICP has the staff and infrastructure, to properly administer this critical public health program and eliminate these crippling delays.
It’s time to modernize this 34-year-old program and for Congress to keep the promise of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. #JusticeDelayedisJusticeDenied
For more information contact The Law Office of Renée J. Gentry, Esq.