Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Speak Out Against Legislative Hearing on Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Editor’s Note: Anti-vaccine organization Age of Autism has been working overtime to dismantle the federal government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program because they are frustrated that claims of vaccine injury in the form of autism have not been found valid by that program. Instead, they want to try to sue by taking their “case” to small claims court, where they can attempt to convince a jury of peers (read: most likely individuals not trained in science or medicine) that vaccines caused their child’s autism. They have been pressuring legislators to support their goals and have instructed members to contact their local representatives about this matter. They have succeeded in getting a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives.

We’d like for parents and providers to speak out against this by writing e-mails to their state representatives today. Below is an example written by one parent to her local state representative. You can find your representatives here. To be effective, your note or phone call should be made today or tomorrow (11/6 and 11/7). Please note that Age of Autism has asked its members to call legislators today to urge them to attend this meeting, in which parents of children with autism will be testifying about how they believe their children received autism from a vaccine--a claim that has been proven, again and again, to be without merit.

Dear [Legislator]:
The anti-vaccine group Age of Autism intends to hold a hearing tomorrow about the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.  Their intent is to dismantle the program so that they can bring their case to small claims court in hopes that a jury will find for them what science has already thoroughly disproven.  Despite the clear science that vaccines do not cause autism, chronic disease, allergies, ADHD, etc., it's always possible that a jury not savvy in the science would give out an award, which would threaten our immunization program.  Of course, this poses a real threat to our children who are currently protected from such scourges as measles, polio, and the like.
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program benefits the children who, because of very rare bad luck, suffer an adverse reaction from vaccines.  These reactions are sometimes so rare that it is difficult to prove that vaccines caused the reaction. However, the benefit of the VICP to them is that the burden of proof there is far lower than it would be in small claims court. They are far more likely to receive compensation through "Vaccine Court" than they would be anywhere else.  Thus, the VICP benefits not only the health of our communities but also the children who may have been injured by a vaccine. 
A University of California-Hastings Law Professor writes on these issues in far more depth than I can cover here.  If you are interested, you can read more about the VICP here: [].  And you can read more about the term "unavoidably unsafe," which is often misused, here: [].
Thank you so much for your time.

[Your Name and City]

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