By Dr. Mercola
Many are not aware that in the US there is a “vaccine court” devoted to hearing cases of people who believe they’ve been injured by a vaccine. It’s an alternative to the traditional US court system, established in 1986 after a string of high-profile lawsuits had slammed vaccine manufacturers.
At the time, the diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus vaccine (DPT) was accused of causing seizures, brain damage, and other serious adverse reactions in a number of children. At least two parents who filed lawsuits against the vaccines’ makers were awarded millions of dollars in compensation.
At that point the vaccine manufacturers threatened to stop producing certain vaccines if the litigation continued. Rather than forcing the vaccine makers to produce safer vaccines – and stand behind that supposed safety – Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which shielded the vaccine makers from any liability related to their products.1
The American Public – Not the Vaccine Makers – Pay the Costs of Compensation
The vaccine court compensates victims not from a fund set up by vaccine makers… but through an account funded by a 75-cent surcharge on every vaccine given (so the combination MMR vaccine has a $2.25 fee tacked on to it because that shot contains three vaccines). So not only are the vaccine makers held at no fault, they don’t have to pay a cent to those injured by their vaccines.
The court even created a list of side effects that are known to be caused by vaccines. Generally, in order to win a claim a person must prove they developed a condition on the list within a certain timeframe of receiving a certain vaccine.
If the side effect is not on the list – known as the vaccine injury table – or it developed outside of the accepted timeframe, the victim must prove, usually via a statement from a medical expert, that the vaccine could have caused the injury.
She had developed Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disease of the nervous system that is in the process of being added to the official vaccine injury table. She only learned of vaccine court after a friend told her about it. She filed a claim and was awarded a settlement of an undisclosed amount.
Many People Are Not Aware of Vaccine Court
In 2014, there were 542 claims to the vaccine court. Of the cases, 365 were compensated for a total of $202 million, with settlements ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.3
What you’ll notice is that very few of these claims are publicized or disclosed to the public in any way. The more Americans learn of legitimate vaccine injuries – those that have been vetted and compensated in a court of law – the more they may start to question the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
There is, however, a government vaccine court website, which is run by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
It maintains vaccine injury court statistics that have historically been updated monthly – until the government mysteriously removed more than a year’s worth of data earlier this year…
US Government Removes Vaccine Injury Court Statistics from Public Website
According to investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, in March 2015 the US government removed the latest vaccine injury court statistics (data from 2014 and 2015) from a publicly reported chart.4
HRSA stated they removed the data in order to synch up with data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is only current through 2013 and details the number of vaccine doses given in the US.
However, there had been a sharp uptick in court victories for people claiming they or their children were injured or killed by vaccines. This data is no longer reflected on the site’s “adjudication” chart, which seriously skews the reality of what’s happening in vaccine court. As Attkisson reported:
“Since January of 2014, the number of flu vaccine cases conceded by the government is more than double the previous eight years combined. The adjudication chart only reflects half of the current number.
Concessions won by flu shot victims since 2006
Chart shows (through 2013): 42
Actual number (through April 2015): 88
Also on the rise is the number of vaccine injury cases the government has ‘conceded:’ up 55% in a little over one year. As a result of the recent website changes, neither of these trends is reflected on the current ‘adjudication’ chart.”
In addition, the site has been altered to make vaccine court stats harder to find. The adjudication chart used to be the first item on the statistics page, but the chart was replaced by language stating vaccines are safe and effective.
Since 1998, more than 15,916 claims were filed in the vaccine court. The total paid out to vaccine victims was about $3.1 billion. While 4,083 were compensated, Attkisson reports that 9,893 were dismissed. Further, the majority of vaccine injuries never make it to vaccine court. According to Attkisson:5
“Only about one injury case for every million doses of vaccines is compensated in vaccine court. Adverse events occur more frequently, according to vaccine warning labels, but rarely end up in the little-known vaccine court.”
Getting Compensated Through Vaccine Court Isn’t Always Easy…
While the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) was originally set up to give vaccine-injured Americans an expedited, non-adversarial, less expensive administrative alternative to a civil court lawsuit, the process usually only addsmore suffering.
Many vaccine victims are left waiting without support and financial assistance for years on end, while their case snakes its way through the red tape. Some VICP claimants even say they felt “attacked” by the government that was supposed to help them.
Another problem has been a lack of public awareness that this program even exists. Reportedly, federal officials operating the VICP have vowed to publicize the program, promising improvements in its literature to make it easier to understand, and improvements to its website.
They’ve also stated they will seek to increase awareness among health care providers, parents and expectant parents, older adults, Spanish speaking adults, as well as civil litigation and plaintiff’s attorneys.6
What actually happens remains to be seen. Several years ago, a comprehensive consultant report about publicizing the VICP was created at a cost of $300,000. Few recommendations were ever implemented, however.7
Moreover, VICP directors didn’t begin taking action on publicity until after a congressionally requested Government Accountability Office (GAO) inquiry began last year.
Public outreach has also been largely ignored since the program’s inception. The Associated Press also claims it found evidence suggesting that “the government seems intent on keeping the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s public profile low.”8
How Common Are Vaccine Injuries?
When the VICP was first created, if the injured party was denied compensation or was dissatisfied with the amount of the award, they could then proceed with a civil lawsuit with certain restrictions, depending upon the case.
Unhappy with this partial liability protection, drug companies kept pushing for complete liability protection and, in 2011, convinced the US Supreme Court majority to rule that federally licensed and recommended vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” and that the VICP should be the “sole remedy” for all vaccine injury claims.9
I think it’s worth repeating, in case you just glossed over it: The reason you cannot sue a vaccine manufacturer for injury or death is because vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.” At this point, vaccine manufacturers have virtually no incentive whatsoever to ensure the safety and effectiveness of vaccines that are recommended by federal health officials and mandated by state health officials.
The question you’re probably wondering is, so how safe, or unsafe, are they? The answer is, no one really knows, as appropriate safety studies haven’t been conducted.
It’s important to understand that ALL vaccines carry a risk for provoking an immediate acute adverse reaction, such as anaphylactic shock, fainting, or having a seizure, which could be truly life threatening if you’re driving a car or crossing a street after you have left the store where you got vaccinated, for example.
Further, vaccines can impair and alter immune system responses and can also cause brain inflammation (encephalitis or encephalopathy) that may lead to permanent brain damage.
In addition, as Institute of Medicine Committees have pointed out in published reports, some individuals are more susceptible to suffering harm from vaccines because of biological, genetic, and environmental risk factors but, most of the time, doctors cannot predict who will be harmed because there are few scientific studies that have evaluated vaccine risks for individuals.10
Problems with a One-Size-Fits-All Vaccine Program
It’s now known that the microbiome influences our health and that an individual’s gut microbes may help determine their immune response to vaccines. For instance, infants that responded to the rotavirus vaccine had a higher diversity of microbes in their gut, as well as more microbes from the Proteobacteria group, than infants who did not mount the expected immune response.11
Further, there has been little scientific research into how vaccines affect your genes and it’s likely different for every person because no two people are identical in terms of inherited genes, environmental exposures, or epigenetic influences that contribute to biodiversity.
There’s really no way to predict which genes will be affected, but the US government promotes, and in some cases mandates, the same vaccine schedule for every American.
Yet, each individual will have a unique response to any given vaccine based on their age, current health status, and microbial makeup. In addition, we’re also epigenetically predisposed to respond differently in terms of the vaccine side effects we might develop.
The fact is vaccines are tolerated by some people and devastating to others. Here are just some of the ways vaccines can impair or alter immune responses and brain function:
- Some components in vaccines are neurotoxic, including heavy metals such as mercury preservatives and aluminum adjuvants; residual toxins like endotoxin and bioactive pertussis toxin; and chemicals like formaldehyde and phenooxyethanol.
- The lab-altered and genetically engineered viruses and bacteria in vaccines may impair immune responses and do not stimulate the same kind of immunity that occurs when the body responds to an infectious disease
- Foreign DNA/RNA from human, animal, and insect cell substrates used to produce vaccines may trigger serious health problems for some people
- Vaccines may alter your T-cell function and lead to chronic illness
- Vaccines can trigger allergies by introducing large foreign protein molecules into your body that have not been properly broken down by your digestive tract (since they are injected). Your body can have an allergic reaction to these foreign particles
Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Defend Vaccine Exemptions
With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it’s critical to protect your right to make independent health choices and exercise voluntary informed consent to vaccination. It is urgent that everyone in America stand up and fight to protect and expand vaccine informed consent protections in state public health and employment laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and educating the leaders in your community.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.
National vaccine policy recommendations are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make voluntary vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations, and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.
Signing up for NVIC’s free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choice rights and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips.
So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury, or death, please talk about it. If we don’t share information and experiences with one another, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.
I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the “other side” of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.
We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than “statistically acceptable collateral damage” of national one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn’t be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
I encourage you to visit the website of the non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), at www.NVIC.org:
- NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries, and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
- If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
- Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment and sanctions by doctors, employers, and school and health officials for making independent vaccine choices.
Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.