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What Is the Vaccine Injury Table?

Richard H. Moeller Sept. 9, 2016

If you are searching for the term “Vaccine Injury Table,” you may be looking for information about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). The NVICP is a federal program which compensates persons who experience a Vaccine Injury, which occurs when a child or adult experiences certain adverse reactions after receiving one of several vaccinations covered under the NVICP.

Claims for compensation to the NVICP are made to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims located in Washington, D.C., by filing a petition.  Most “petitioners” are represented by lawyers. An attorney representing a petitioner must be admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims

The “Vaccine Injury Table” refers to a chart listing the most common vaccines or immunizations administered, such as DTaP vaccine, MMR vaccine, varicella (chicken pox) vaccine, and polio vaccine for children, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Gardasil) for adolescents and young adults, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster vaccines for adults, and the seasonal flu vaccine for persons of all ages.  If a person experiences a side effect or adverse reaction from a vaccine on the Table, and the condition lasts for six months or more, he or she may be entitle to compensation under the NVICP.  You can view the Table at the NVICP's website.

The Table has three columns: (1) the type of vaccine, (2) the adverse reactions associated with the vaccine, and (3) the time period from the administration of the vaccine to the onset of symptoms.  A person is generally entitled to recover compensation if he or she can show their condition fits the three columns on the Table.  So for example, if a person is diagnosed with brachial neuritis after a tetanus shot, and the first sign of the condition occurs after two days but before 28 days, he is probably entitled to recover.  That type of claim will be classified as a “Table Injury.”

Some of the vaccines listed in the Table have “No Condition Specified” in the second column and “Not applicable” in the third column.  This does not mean that the vaccine is not covered.  As long as the vaccine is listed in the first column it is covered.  Instead this means that the person who suffers an adverse reaction must prove that the vaccine actually caused the injury.  This is known as a “Non-Table” or “Off-Table” Injury.  Unlike a “Table Injury,” the person must prove more than timing, and more than the fact that the illness or condition followed administration of the vaccine.  In fact, proving causation requires medical evidence, including health records and very often the use of medical experts.

The purpose of the Table is to enable persons to more easily meet the criteria for eligibility for compensation. However, it is not always that easy. Also, even if eligibility is established, the person must then prove the amount of the compensation. Fortunately the NVICP encourages persons to be represented by lawyers in either a Table or Non-Table Vaccine Injury case, because in most cases the NVICP will pay the lawyer's fees, whether or not the petitioner is entitled to recover. And if he or she is entitled to recover, those fees are paid separately from the amount they receive and the recovery is not reduced by legal expenses. Therefore, there is no reason for a person to not be represented by a lawyer in a Vaccine Injury claim.

When our firm is contacted by a person who believes he, she, or a family member may have suffered a Vaccine Injury, there is no fee to visit about the claim, or to investigate the claim, or to pursue the claim.  Also, the firm pays the expenses incurred to pursue the claim. Therefore, the case can be handled free of charge.

You can contact us about a possible Vaccine Injury by contacting Richard Moeller at 712-252-0020 or email Richard at RMoeller@MooreHeffernanlaw.com.  And you can learn more about the NVICP and the firm's representation of persons with possible Vaccine Injury claims by visiting the Vaccine Injury page and other articles in our Blog.