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Commentary

Vaccine Liability: Congress Should Give Vaccines a Shot in the Arm
Randolph W. Pate, J.D., MPH, Heritage Foundation, 12-16-05

Pate argues that the best way to expand America’s vaccine capacity is to invest in protecting the industry from specious legal claims while at the same time providing adequate compensation for people who’ve suffered from unforeseen side effects from vaccines.

Keeping in mind the dual objectives of promoting a robust vaccine industry and encouraging public confidence in vaccines, Congress should take the steps needed to bring about a second “golden age” of vaccines that will benefit all Americans. Of the solutions available, a retooled and expanded VICP, or some similar program, is the best opportunity to protect vaccine makers from lawsuits while quickly and fairly compensating injured parties. While the vaccine provision currently pending before Congress would be a good first step towards offering the vaccine industry the liability protection it needs, Congress will have to revisit the issues of extending the number of vaccines protected and providing fair and just compensation to those injured by vaccines.

Congress is now in the midst of a heated debate over vaccine liability - we’ll see whether or not they heed Pate’s advice.



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