The Vaccine Court—The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
By Anne Dachel
Parents and other advocates, long abandoned by the medical community, health officials and the media, have discovered for themselves the corruption and cover-up that exists in government oversight agencies and programs. In recent years we’ve learned about the existence of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and an obscure part of the federal court system that has come to be known as Vaccine Court, where parties injured by vaccines have to plead their cases before an unorthodox forum known as the “special masters.” This program exists because the U.S. government indemnified both the manufacturers of vaccines and individuals who administer them. Both groups have no liability if someone is injured by a vaccine.
Wayne Rohde recently finished writing the book, The Vaccine Court, an in-depth look at the vaccine injury justice system. I talked to Wayne about his book and in a series of six short videos, Wayne explains how vaccine injury claims are handled and reveals why we all need to be concerned.
What is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program? 1: 24
“The compensation program was established in 1986 [and] signed into law by President Reagan It was a program established to allow families who want to seek compensation for vaccine-related injuries or death. It’s an exclusive remedy, for the most part, for those who have been injured or who have died. The program started as a no-fault program back in 1988. It’s changed now to the point where it’s very difficult for families to migrate through the program. You can file for injuries regarding pain and suffering, physical injuries, disease, disorders that resulted from these vaccines. When it first was started, it was focused [on] the six to seven childhood vaccines, and over the years, it’s almost every vaccine for the adults have been included. That’s kind of where the growing concern is, that this is going to an adult program and excluding children, for the most part.”
Why do we have to have a special federal court that deals only with claims of vaccine damage? What happens if someone is injured by a vaccine? 2:59
Wayne explained that because of side effects associated with the DPT vaccine in the late ‘70s and early 80s, Congress was concerned that vaccine makers would simply stop making vaccines because of the law suits they were facing. Wayne said, “One of the purposes of the program was to insure the vaccine supply of the DTP vaccine. So Congress established a program to basically indemnify the vaccine manufacturer, but also those who administer the vaccines which is the doctors and other medical practitioners into a program where you would file a petition, seek damages, and the damages would be paid out of a special injury trust fund that was established.”
Wayne described his experience interviewing almost three hundred families that had filed claims of vaccine injuries. He said that when someone is injured by a vaccine, “it’s almost exclusively that the doctors and the medical practitioners run away from that question. They refuse to provide the necessary information, therefore the families are up to researching themselves.”
Wayne cited the National Vaccine Information Center as the go-to site for information about what to do if someone is injured by a vaccination and he ended the segment with these chilling words:
“You have a program that was established that protects the vaccine manufacturers almost completely now, and …family members are almost on their own to find out what to do.”
What has your research in vaccine injury claims revealed about the compensation program that is supposed to be “no-fault”? 5:47
“Congress’s intention was to establish a very fair, quick and efficient non-adversarial program for families to file for injuries or death.” Wayne explained in the beginning, there were known injuries associated with the vaccines on the schedule. Over the last decade, there have been more and more side effects linked to vaccines that are not on the table of injuries.
“The program has become very litigious—meaning multiple hearings requiring medical experts for both the petitioner, which is the family member, to testify …or provide medical information…”
Wayne said that when the program started, the case would be decided in one to two years. Today, it can take up to 10 years for a final decision. “And now most of the time, it’s being dismissed because the science has not caught up with most of these injuries that are happening with these new vaccines that have been introduced into the program.”
The program is decidedly against the parents who file for compensation. Wayne described how experts testifying for the parents are treated. “The best way… for our government to say no, there is no injury here, is to discredit the credentials of the medical experts …Families have no way of defending their claims. We’re seeing this especially in the Gardasil injuries.”
Wayne explained that in cases that are heard in Vaccine Court, there is no judge or jury, only a lawyer called a Special Master, who oversees the case. “It really becomes adversarial. A lot of families give up….”
How has the Court addressed the controversial link between vaccines and the development of autism? 10:08
Wayne recounted that there were mounting claims alleging the MMR and thimerosal-containing vaccines were causing autism (over 5,000 cases) in the early 2000s. Several test cases, called the Autism Omnibus Cases, were selected and the decisions in those cases would then apply to all the other thousands of petitions.
Wayne explained that because the Vaccine Court is not set up like a regular court, there are no “rules of evidence.”
Very troubling, according to Wayne, was the fact that the Justice Department pulled the Hannah Poling Case out of the Omnibus Proceedings and quietly conceded her claim of vaccine-induced autism. This action was not made public to those involved in the test cases or to the American people at the time.
Furthermore, according to Wayne, court records have revealed that dozens of similar cases have been decided in favor of those claiming that vaccines caused their child to develop autism, they just skirt the issue saying vaccines caused “brain encephalopathy,” instead of calling it what it is, autism.
How is someone compensated for a recognized vaccine injury? 5:02
Awards are given in the form of annuities or “structured settlements” through private insurance companies. However they are not guaranteed. If these companies run into bad economic times, families are out of luck.
What can be done to make this program work? 7:16
Wayne pointed out the need for reform to statute of limitations provisions that are big hurdles that prevent many children from having their claims recognized. Death benefits also need to be reformed for families of individuals who die as a result of a vaccination.
The Vaccine Court puts vaccines in a whole new perspective. There are risks involved in following the ever-expanding childhood vaccination schedule or going in for the growing number of adult vaccines now recommended for everyone. The vaccine makers know this and so does the government. However for the ordinary person trusting that “vaccines are safe, vaccines save lives,” there is no real informed consent.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which goes on sale this Fall from Skyhorse Publishing.