Instead of suing drug companies, people who alleged injury or illness related to a vaccine file claims with Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
According to U.S. Code § 300aa–22, no vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988, if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings. A vaccine shall be presumed to be accompanied by proper directions and warnings if the vaccine manufacturer shows that it complied in all material respects with all requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Drugs go through rigorous testing before the FDA approves them. Drug manufacturers may spend much and up to 12 years to gain permission to sell a new prescription product. Even when permission is granted, approval still carries numerous limitations, including restrictions on promotional materials and requirements for specific warnings that must appear on the product’s labeling.
Most people who get vaccines have no serious problems. Like any medicines, vaccines can cause side effects, but most are very rare and very mild. In very rare cases, a vaccine can cause a serious problem, such as a severe allergic reaction.
In these instances, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) which may provide financial compensation to individuals who file a petition and are found to have been injured by a VICP-covered vaccine. Vaccines are produced by privately-held pharmaceutical companies, but they have a unique arrangement with the U.S. government: When a person reports harm that could feasibly be related to a vaccine, a government program—not a pharmaceutical company—pays compensation. Even in cases where such a finding is not made, petitioners may receive compensation through a settlement. If a vaccination injures someone, they are much more likely to be eligible for compensation from the VICP if they meet the criteria outlined in the Vaccine Injury Table.