Vaccine/Court

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Concept.png Vaccine/Court 
(court)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Start1986
Interest ofNigel Davis
Jurlyless courts exclusively for legal action about vaccines.

Vaccine courts were created in the United States by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA),[1] passed by the US Congress in response to a threat to the vaccine supply due to a 1980s scare over the DPT vaccine. They are juryless and confidential.

Petitioner's burden of proof

In the vaccine court, as in civil tort cases, the burden of proof is a preponderance of evidence, but while in tort cases, this is met by expert testimony establishing a rigorous scientific case, in the vaccine court, the burden is met with a three prong test: the petitioner must present a biological theory of harm, demonstrate a logical sequence of events connecting the vaccine to the injury, and establish an appropriate time frame in which injury occurred. The petitioner must also show that there is not another biologically plausible explanation for the injury.

A 2005 United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruling[2] held that an award should be granted if a petitioner either establishes a "Table Injury" or proves "causation in fact" by proving the following three prongs:

  1. a medical theory causally connecting the vaccination and the injury;
  2. a logical sequence of cause and effect showing that the vaccination was the reason for the injury; and
  3. a showing of a proximate temporal relationship between vaccination and injury.

Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

In December 2018 "payouts by the national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, or VICP, have now topped $4 billion."[3]

Experts

Andrew Zimmerman‎‎, when he denied the possibility of a link between vaccines and autism, was an expert witness in front of the court. However, when he began to believe that in some children vaccines can result in autism, he was no longer employed in this capacity. A 2018 affidavit alleges that the court continued to misrepresent his position.[citation needed]

Homeland Security Act

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 provides an exception to the exclusive jurisdiction of the vaccine court. If a smallpox vaccine were to be widely administered by public health authorities in response to a terrorist or other biological warfare attack, persons administering or producing the vaccine would be deemed federal employees and claims would be subject to the Federal Tort Claims Act, in which case claimants would sue the U.S. Government in the U.S. district courts, and would have the burden of proving the defendants' negligence, a much more difficult standard.[4]

Covid-19 black hole

The fast tracked COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out from December 2020, will be covered by The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), run by an agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), not by vaccine courts.

Peter Meyers, an emeritus professor at George Washington University School of Law and former director of the Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic, described the CICP as a "black hole" process handled entirely within HHS, rather than a court, without fees for attorneys or expert witnesses, a short one-year window to file claims and limited participation by the claimant.[5]



References