PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO EMBEDDED ABOVE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Just before his second birthday, Colin Dwyer visited the doctor’s office and received vaccinations under the CDC’s childhood vaccine schedule just as New York requires to attend public schools. To his parents shock, shortly after getting his vaccines, Colin’s development regressed.
A few months later, at just 2.5 years of age, Colin was diagnosed with autism.
In addition to the end of his normal milestone developments in motor, language, cognitive, and social skills; he became listless, stopped eating, and developed chronic bowel problems that plague him even to this day.
Today, even though he's often a fun-loving and energetic 15 year-old boy who loves to help whenever needed and is deeply curious about the world, Colin also suffers with major challenges in cognitive and language skills, developmental delays, anxiety, and the inability to relate to his peers in a way that would be typical for his age. His parents wonder if he will ever be able to live on his own.
In 1986, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act to create a no-fault alternative to the civil court system. The NVICP was established to be the quickest and easiest way to ensure that individuals injured by a vaccine would receive appropriate compensation. Congress designed this so petitioners only needed to prove causation and not fault, to ensure fairness in the NVICP.
Unfortunately, this program fails to guarantee full legal rights to those who use it - including discovery.
Colin Dwyer participated in the NVICP system and was ultimately denied any compensation.
Colin is not alone.
- -- Routinely, claims made under the NVICP stretch out more than a decade while family’s costs pile up. Justice delayed is justice denied. Claimants are routinely denied their rights to a 'speedy trial' as claims in VICP turn into contentious, lengthy legal battles where the government drags their feet on processing the claim and can appeal any number of times regardless of evidence (and the claimant cannot). Even death claims that are clearly due to vaccine injury can take up to 10 years from start to finish.
- -- Well over 80% of those who seek justice in this system are denied compensation. The NVICP does not provide jury trials. Instead government-paid lawyers, called special masters, and judges decide all claims. Because the facts of each case are so different, there is a limited role for legal precedent and these decision-makers have broad discretion.
- -- Vaccine manufacturers are exempted from any involvement in the process. Claimants are denied discovery of the product manufacturers' records. Forced to make a claim against the government and not the manufacturer, the hands of both lawyers for the claimant and the government are tied as they don't have access to crucial records on vaccine product safety trials, vaccine adverse events, vaccine manufacturing processes and manufacturing research. All vital to proving malfeasance and injury due to a product.
- -- Manufacturers of vaccines that cause injury are under no requirement to improve them. VICP strips the American free market system from working appropriately. By denying individuals getting vaccines access to the product's safety and efficacy records and by allowing vaccine manufacturers complete immunity from any liability of a very expensive product where production trumps safety and its use is mandatory, the vaccine-injured's rights to life and liberty are denied.
- -- Taxpayers established funding, and continue to supplement the fund for compensation, through a tax on all vaccines. Not only do vaccine manufacturers have complete immunity from all liability, tax payers pay for the injuries that products from companies making billions in profit are inflicting on an unknowing population -- mostly children. SafeMinds believes that products given most exclusively to children should be subject to even greater safety standards.
- -- This alternative structure has been touted as a model for all future medical injury compensation.
The 7th Amendment to the Constitution ensures the right to trial by jury in civil matters.
While the VICP does not technically violate the 7th amendment, concerns are twofold – first, appeals of a decision are elevated to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where the life-appointed judges are chosen pursuant to Article III of the Constitution; second, petitioners could potentially re-litigate their claims from the VICP in civil court before juries. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to prove injuries come from a vaccine. Most petitioners who lose in the VICP don’t choose to re-litigate at their own expense. And if people are successful in the VICP, they likely won’t want to re-litigate that outcome either.
The ENTIRE system for vaccine injury compensation needs reconsideration. Therefore we need everyone to join Colin's support for reviewing the vaccine injury program IN ITS ENTIRETY – from reporting to compensation.
Please join Colin and the thousands of others denied compensation in calling for Congress to fully investigate this system and make any and all changes necessary to make it fair, speedy and equitable - including the potential for eliminating the NVICP and returning vaccine injury lawsuits to civil tort law and eliminating manufacturer and provider immunity to liability.