Health Resources & Services Administration
Data & Statistics
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:
- Almost 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 2016 over 3.1 billion doses of covered vaccines were distributed in the U.S. For petitions filed in this time period, 5,426 petitions were adjudicated by the Court, and of those 3,676 were compensated. This means for every 1 million doses of vaccine that were distributed, 1 individual was compensated.
Since 1988, over 19,361 petitions have been filed with the VICP. Over that 29-year time period, 17,168 petitions have been adjudicated, with 5,999 of those determined to be compensable, while 11,169 were dismissed. Total compensation paid over the life of the program is approximately $3.8 billion.
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 petitions for compensation under the VICP.
VICP Adjudication Categories, by Alleged Vaccine,
For Petitions Filed Since the Inclusion of Influenza as an Eligible Vaccine for Filings 01/01/2006 through 12/31/2016
Name of Vaccine Listed First in a Petition (other vaccines may be alleged or basis for
Number of Doses Distributed in the U.S.,
Dismissed/Non- Compensable Total
Notes on the Adjudication Categories Table
The date range of 01/01/2006 through 12/31/2016 was selected to reflect petitions filed since the inclusion of influenza vaccine in July 2005. Influenza vaccine now is named in the majority of all VICP petitions.
In addition to the first vaccine alleged by a petitioner, which is the vaccine listed in this table, a VICP petition may allege other vaccines, which may form the basis
Vaccine doses are self-reported distribution data provided by US-licensed vaccine manufacturers. The data provide an estimate of the annual national distribution
and do not represent vaccine administration. In order to maintain confidentiality of an individual manufacturer or brand, the data are presented in an aggregate format by vaccine type. Flu doses are derived from CDC’s FluFinder tracking system, which includes data provided to CDC by US-licensed influenza vaccine manufacturers as well as their first line distributors.
“Unspecified” means insufficient information was submitted to make an initial determination. The conceded “unspecified” petition was for multiple unidentified vaccines that caused abscess formation at the vaccination site(s), and the “unspecified” settlements were for multiple vaccines later identified in the Special Masters’ decisions
Compensable – The injured person who filed a petition was paid money by the VICP. Compensation can be achieved through a concession by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a decision on the merits of the petition by a special master or a judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Court), or a settlement between the parties.
- Concession: HHS concludes that a petition should be compensated based on a thorough review and analysis of the evidence, including medical records and the scientific and medical literature. The HHS review concludes that the petitioner is entitled to compensation, including a determination either that it is more likely than not that the vaccine caused the injury or the evidence supports fulfillment of the criteria of the Vaccine Injury Table. The Court also determines that the petition should be compensated.
- Court Decision: A special master or the court, within the United States Court of Federal Claims, issues a legal decision after weighing the evidence presented by both sides. HHS abides by the ultimate Court decision even if it maintains its position that the petitioner was not entitled to compensation (e.g., that the injury was not caused by the vaccine).
For injury petitions, compensable court decisions are based in part on one of the following determinations by the court:
- 1. The evidence is legally sufficient to show that the vaccine more likely than not caused (or significantly aggravated) the injury; or
- 2. The injury is listed on, and meets all of the requirements of, the Vaccine Injury Table, and HHS has not proven that a factor unrelated to the vaccine more likely than not caused or significantly aggravated the injury. An injury listed on the Table and meeting all Table requirements is given the legal presumption of causation. It should be noted that conditions are placed on the Table for both scientific and policy reasons.
- Settlement: The petition is resolved via a negotiated settlement between the parties. This settlement is not an admission by the United States or the Secretary of Health and Human Services that the vaccine caused the petitioner’s alleged injuries, and, in settled cases, the Court does not determine that the vaccine caused the injury. A settlement therefore cannot be characterized as a decision by HHS or by the Court that the vaccine caused an injury. Petitions may be resolved by settlement for many reasons, including consideration of prior court decisions; a recognition by both parties that there is a
risk of loss in proceeding to a decision by the Court making the certainty of settlement more desirable; a desire by both parties to minimize the time and
expense associated with litigating a case to conclusion; and a desire by both parties to resolve a case quickly and efficiently.
- Non-compensable/Dismissed: The injured person who filed a petition was ultimately not paid money. Non-compensable Court decisions include the following:
- 1. The Court determines that the person who filed the petition did not demonstrate that the injury was caused (or significantly aggravated) by a
covered vaccine or meet the requirements of the Table (for injuries listed on the Table).
- 2. The petition was dismissed for not meeting other statutory requirements (such as not meeting the filing deadline, not receiving a covered vaccine, and not meeting the statute’s severity requirement).
- 3. The injured person voluntarily withdrew his or her petition.
Petitions Filed, Compensated and Dismissed, by Alleged Vaccine,
Since the Beginning of VICP, 10/01/1988 through 5/01/2018
1 Nonqualified petitions are those filed for vaccines not covered under the VICP.
2 Unspecified petitions are those submitted with insufficient information to make a determination.
Generally, petitions are not adjudicated in the same fiscal year as filed. On average, it takes 2 to 3 years to adjudicate a petition after it is filed.
NOTE: Some previous fiscal year data has been updated as a result of the receipt and entry of data from documents issued by the Court and system updates which included petitioners’ costs reimbursements in outlay totals,
“Compensated” are petitions that have been paid as a result of a settlement between parties or a decision made by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Court). The
# of awards is the number of petitioner awards paid, including the attorneys’ fees/costs payments, if made during a fiscal year. However, petitioners’ awards and attorneys’ fees/costs are not necessarily paid in the same fiscal year as when the petitions/petitions are determined compensable. “Dismissed” includes the # of payments to attorneys and the total amount of payments for attorneys’ fees/costs per fiscal year. The VICP will pay attorneys’ fees/costs related to the petition, whether or not the petition/petition is awarded compensation by the Court, if certain minimal requirements are met. “Total Outlays” are the total amount of funds expended for compensation and attorneys’ fees/costs from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund by fiscal year.
Since influenza vaccines (vaccines administered to large numbers of adults each year) were added to the VICP in 2005, many adult petitions related to that vaccine have been filed, thus changing the proportion of children to adults receiving compensation.
The vaccine injury attorneys at Gold Law Firm, LLC., only practice vaccine injury law. Vaccine Injury law is all we do. Vaccine injuries are rare, but real. We’ll help you and your family.