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Education Reporter

Vaccine Expert Calls for Changes in Injury Compensation
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In November, the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines heard testimony from experts, including Barbara Loe Fisher, on compensation for children who are injured by vaccines. Fisher, who co-founded the National Vaccine Information Center, says that the system currently handling injury claims is broken.

Parents whose children experience adverse effects from vaccines pursue their claims not in the civil courts but through the federal government's alternative compensation program. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 set up the alternative claim process in order to create a "fair, expedited, non-adversarial, less traumatic, less expensive no-fault compensation mechanism," explains Fisher in a recent article (Mercola.com, 12-13-08). The program was supposed to adjudicate claims of injury fairly quickly. The act also established regulations to ensure that vaccines would be as safe as possible; but most of the safety provisions have fallen by the wayside.

"Obtaining compensation has become a highly adversarial, time-consuming, traumatic and expensive process for families of vaccine injured children," writes Fisher, "and far too many vaccine victims have been denied compensation. Meanwhile, vaccine makers and doctors have enjoyed liability protection, and dozens of doses of nine new vaccines have been added to the childhood vaccine schedule."

For more than 20 years, the National Vaccine Information Center has called for further research into the risks of vaccines to certain children. "Without understanding how and why vaccines can cause brain and immune system dysfunction, there will be no way to develop pathological profiles to help scientifically confirm whether or not an individual has been injured or died from vaccination," explains Fisher.

Although Congress never intended to shield drug companies from all liability for vaccine injury, the federal compensation program as it now stands does basically that. Parents must apply for federal compensation before they can sue in civil court. The compensation program provides up to $250,000 for the vaccine-associated death of a child. And although about 5,000 families have applied for compensation after their children regressed into autism just after receiving vaccines, the government does not believe any connection exists between vaccines and autism, so those families are not eligible for compensation. The scientific community is mixed on vaccines and autism, with the majority believing they are not linked, but a respectable minority believing that vaccines sometimes can cause autism.

"Public health officials have never proven that it is indeed safe to inject this number and volume of vaccines into infants," says natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola. The Centers for Disease Control currently recommend a vaccine schedule that administers 36 vaccine doses in the first 18 months of life, and 48 doses of 14 vaccines before kindergarten. Two-month-olds routinely receive six shots at once, with some containing formaldehyde, aluminum, or other ingredients known to have toxic or cancer-causing effects. Some vaccines on the schedule, such as the chicken pox vaccine, are made using cells from aborted fetuses.

Mercola points out that public health officials "cannot explain why, concurrent with an increasing number of vaccinations, there has been an explosion of neurological and immune system disorders in American children."

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