National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program compensates people who are determined to have been injured by vaccines. Established by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, it is a federal “no-fault” system compensating individuals or families of individuals who have been injured by childhood vaccines. All routinely recommended childhood vaccinations are covered by the program. People who file claims are not required to prove negligence on the part of the healthcare provider or the manufacturer.

A panel of experts has established a list of serious injuries that are associated with certain vaccines. This list is updated as medical research uncovers more information on the side effects of vaccines. People who file claims may qualify for compensation in three ways:

  • Show that the injury occurred within a certain time interval of receiving the vaccine;

  • Prove that the vaccine caused the injury; or

  • Prove that the vaccine worsened a pre-existing condition.

Funds accumulated from a tax on each dose of a vaccine purchased are used for the compensation awards.

Vaccines covered under the program are diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and varicella. It is anticipated that the pneumoccocal vaccine will soon be included.

NVICP Contact Information
Phone: 1-800-822-7967

Task Force on Safer Childhood Vaccines

In 1986, the Task Force on Safer Childhood Vaccines was established by the Secretary of Health and Human Services at the direction of Congress. Members of the Task Force include the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other members of the Public Health Service.

The Task Force examines vaccine safety and makes recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for development of safe childhood vaccines and for improvements in manufacturing, processing, testing, licensing, labeling, distribution, storage, administration, adverse reaction reporting, monitoring, recalling batches, and research. Reports are published on a periodic basis. The report from January 22, 1996, is available on-line at

Institute of Medicine Reviews

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act established a committee at the Institute of Medicine—a prestigious medical research organization funded by Congress to provide objective, timely, authoritative information and advice concerning health to government, the corporate sector, the professions, and the public—to review the medical literature on health problems or injuries occurring after vaccination. The Act mandates these comprehensive reviews of vaccine-related adverse events.

The Institute of Medicine has published the following studies on the adverse events associated with vaccines given to children:

  • Institute of Medicine. Adverse effects of pertussis and rubella vaccines. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1991.

  • Institute of Medicine. Adverse events associated with childhood vaccines. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1994.

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Important disclaimer: The information on is for educational purposes only and should not be considered to be medical advice. It is not meant to replace the advice of the physician who cares for your child. All medical advice and information should be considered to be incomplete without a physical exam, which is not possible without a visit to your doctor.

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