The need for some form of compensation when an individual is seriously injured by vaccination, particularly when the immunization has been compulsory or recommended by the health authority, has been accepted in many countries. Table 6 shows details of compensation programs in Canada (the province of Quebec), Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, and the USA (37).
In the USA, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program as a federal no-fault compensation system for individuals who may have been injured by specific vaccines. This compensation program relies on a Vaccine Injury Table that lists the vaccines that are covered by the program, as well as injuries, disabilities, illnesses, and conditions (including death) for which compensation may be awarded. To better reflect current scientific knowledge about vaccine injuries, the Vaccine Injury Table was revised in 1995 and has been subsequently further modified. The latest modification, which became effective on December 1, 2004, is shown in Table 7. This revision took into account a review of the literature on specific adverse consequences of pertussis and rubella vaccines performed and published by the IOM (SED-12, 817) (SED-12, 825). In addition to the seven vaccines (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, and poliomyelitis) included in the first Vaccine Injury Table, the 1997 revision includes hepatitis B, Hemophilus influenzae type b, and Varicella vaccines, as well as any future licensed vaccine recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for routine administration to children (38).
There are other compensation programs, for example in Japan, where the program covers damage caused by compulsory immunizations; provisions include medical allowance, care giver's allowance, disability pension, and a funeral grant; a national expert committee reviews applications.
Although not focusing primarily on vaccine-induced injury, attention should be paid to a contribution to the field of liability for drug-induced disease (39).
On December 1, 2004, the Secretary published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the addition of hepatitis A vaccines to the Vaccine Injury Table under Category XIV with an effective date of December 1, 2004.
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