1. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Senior Member

    Many people who do not trust the safety of vaccinations will quickly point out that courts commonly award a lot of money to families of those harmed by vaccines. As a result, images displaying numbers such as the one attached below have circulated through the internet. However, this number alone does not tell a complete story and is not a reason to mistrust the safety of vaccinations.

    The number in the image is true, just over $4 billion have been awarded to families claiming to have suffered injury or death due to vaccines. This money has been awarded following cases handled by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), established in 1988. The VICP was established in order to protect vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits that were applying pressure for them to cease DTP vaccine production. This happened following a panic triggered by British researchers finding a possible link between DTP vaccination and neurological harm, which was later fully discredited. However, fear had already set in, vaccination rates dropped, and 70 children in Britain died from pertussis. Meanwhile, American families were being awarded compensation in lawsuits despite medical officials and scientists concluding that such claims were unsubstantiated. This turned out to set a precedent for the coming decades.

    Today, the VICP continues to award compensation to families claiming that they have been harmed by vaccines. These compensations include money for medical bills, attorney fees, and future lost income (for example, a severely autistic child may not ever receive a well-paying job). The average award in 2018 totaled at about $430,000 per case. In order to be awarded compensation, it is stated that the plaintiff must meet three criteria: 1) provide a medical theory causally connecting the vaccine to a documented adverse effect 2) show a logical sequence of events from vaccine to injury demonstrating that the vaccine was the reason for the injury and 3) show that the timeline is consistent with vaccine injury (provide medical records). On paper, this sounds like solid ground for establishing a causal relationship between a vaccine and an injury. However, the ultimate decision is not made by a panel of experts but instead a jury and as with the original DTP vaccine cases, the decisions are not necessarily based in science.

    In fact, multiple cases can be pointed to as examples of this deviation from science-based rulings. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0802904
    The most important lesson here is that science is not established in courtrooms.

    This is not to say that all decisions made in VICP cases are not based in science. Another important lesson here is that every medication carries risk. If a medication, treatment, supplement, etc. carries no risk, then it can be said that it probably does nothing at all. Vaccines provide real protection from potentially deadly disease but also carry risk in rare cases. Examples and statistics on adverse effects in vaccines can be found here. Putting the $4 billion figure from the beginning into better context actually helps put the rarity of serious vaccine side effects into perspective. In the 30 years that the VICP has operated, about 6,500 cases have been settled and $4 billion awarded. To give those 6,500 cases some context, 3.4 billion vaccine doses were given in the U.S. just from 2006 to 2017. During that same 2006 to 207 period, about 4,000 vaccine cases were awarded compensation. That puts vaccine adverse effect (not necessarily death) rates at 0.00013% or about 1 in 1 million, safer than driving a car or riding a bike and about the same odds as winning the lottery. Keep in mind that those numbers include cases that are not science based.

    Lastly, the amount of money awarded through vaccine compensation is not a good indicator of how dangerous they are. If we look at courtroom settlements for similar situations, the argument does not stand up. For example, medical malpractice lawsuits for the state of New York alone range from 1,300-2,600 cases being awarded a range of $550 million-1 billion each year. Yet, it would be illogical to conclude from this information that going to the hospital or accepting treatment from a doctor is dangerous and should not be done. The message remains the same, the benefits of vaccines far far far outweigh the risks. https://www.pnas.org/content/114/16/4031

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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  2. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    I suppose it's very hard to determine before-hand, which babies could be susceptible to adverse vaccine-related reactions. There is always an info sheet handed to the parents, stating the potential risks, that they are required to sign.
    The health risk (statistically) is very small.
    I don't think the gov't (or Pharma) is in the business of killing or harming newborns.
    Some children develop seemingly unrelated health problems, but since most children get vaccinations, it's often an easy accusation that "because my baby had vaccinations, that is likely the cause".
    We need to look at.... "children who never received vaccinations" vs "children who had their vaccinations"..... and compare subsequent illnesses based on a statistical average on the two lots/groups.
    The difficulty here is, the lot of "didn't have their vaccinations' is vastly much smaller than those who did, so statistical accuracy can be somewhat skewed.
    I'll try to find those stats.....