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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration

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Data & Statistics

Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history. In the majority of cases, vaccines cause no side effects, however they can occur, as with any medication—but most are mild.  Very rarely, people experience more serious side effects, like allergic reactions.

In those instances, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) allows individuals to file a petition for compensation.

What does it mean to be awarded compensation?

Being awarded compensation for a petition does not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the alleged injury. In fact:

  • Over 80 percent of all compensation awarded by the VICP comes as result of a negotiated settlement between the parties in which HHS has not concluded, based upon review of the evidence, that the alleged vaccine(s) caused the alleged injury.
  • Attorneys are eligible for reasonable attorneys’ fees, whether or not the petitioner is awarded compensation by the Court, if certain minimal requirements are met. In those circumstances, attorneys are paid by the VICP directly. By statute, attorneys may not charge any other fee, including a contingency fee, for his or her services in representing a petitioner in the VICP.

What reasons might a petition result in a negotiated settlement?

  • Consideration of prior U.S. Court of Federal Claims decisions, both parties decide to minimize risk of loss through settlement
  • A desire to minimize the time and expense of litigating a case  
  • The desire to resolve a petition quickly

How many petitions have been awarded compensation?

According to the CDC, from 2006 to 2014 over 2.5 billion doses of covered vaccines were distributed in the U.S.  For petitions filed in this time period, 3,373 petitions were adjudicated by the Court, and of those 2,129 were compensated. This means for every 1 million doses of vaccine that were distributed, 1 individual was compensated.

Since 1988, over 16,729 petitions have been filed with the VICP. Over that 27 year time period, 14,397
petitions have been adjudicated, with 4,482 of those determined to be compensable, while 9,915 were dismissed. Total compensation paid over the life of the program is approximately $3.3 billion.

The Latest Statistics
Read the current statistics report – updated as of February 3, 2016

This information reflects the current thinking of the United States Department of Health and Human Services on the topics addressed. This information is not legal advice and does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind the Department or the public. The ultimate decision about the scope of the statutes authorizing the VICP is within the authority of the United States Court of Federal Claims, which is responsible for resolving claims for compensation under the VICP.

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