Since its inception, over 16,113 claims have been filed with this no-fault alternative dispute resolution system and 4,205 have been determined to be compensable.Recent research has begun to question whether the VICP is working as was intended. One study by a Stanford University law professor concluded that “the program has been astonishingly slow and surprisingly combative.” For example, a 240-day deadline was established for all adjudications, but in reality, the average adjudication takes over five years. The study further determined that though claims were supposed to be amicably resolved, the prevailing tone instead was antagonistic and adversarial. Despite one of the program’s inferred goals of being straightforward enough that petitioners could handle claims themselves, the study discovered that legal counsel was necessary to have any chance for a successful resolution. Other critics feel that the VICP should be reformed because it lacks judicial independence, adequate procedural safeguards and has an inappropriately short statute of limitations.
Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Fails to Provide Simple Justice
While it may seem like the controversy over vaccines is relatively new, the issues surrounding this debate have actually been argued for decades. On one hand, there is a vaccination policy whose goal is that every American child should have approximately 38 inoculation shots by the age of five. On the other hand, there are those who believe the vaccination policy is flawed and the vaccines are dangerous. Certainly, no drug is 100 percent risk-free and vaccines carry a probability of injury or death that is greater for some people than others. A 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that for babies born between 1994 and 2013, vaccination prevented about 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 premature deaths. The price of this protection was recognized by the federal government in 1988, when it created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to award compensation to individuals who suffered injuries, or to their estates in the event of death, caused by vaccinations.