Washington — The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has announced it stands behind the Supreme Court ruling in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, Inc,  to preserve the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) and safeguard the nation’s vaccine supply.

In July, the AAP joined 21 partnering health organizations to file an amici curiae (friends of the court) brief in the case, urging the court to protect the VICP established in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986 (“Vaccine Act”) by confirming that the law preempts design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers. On February 22in a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court upheld a recent ruling by the Third Circuit Court and supported the Academy’s position in the case, holding, “The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act preempts all design-defect claims against vaccine manufacturers brought by plaintiffs who seek compensation for injury or death caused by vaccine side effects.”

“Childhood vaccines are among the greatest medical breakthroughs of the last century,” said AAP President O. Marion Burton, MD, FAAP. “Today’s Supreme Court decision protects children by strengthening our national immunization system and ensuring that vaccines will continue to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in this country.”

In 1986, access to life-saving vaccines was in jeopardy. Congress responded by passing the Vaccine Act, which established the no-fault alternative VICP to compensate the families of children who suffer from rare adverse reactions caused by vaccines, and to protect the nation’s vaccine supply. Today’s ruling preserves the Vaccine Court set up through the VICP as the first entry point for families seeking compensation for injuries caused by childhood vaccines.

By providing an avenue for vaccine injury claims separate from the traditional litigation process, the Vaccine Court has expedited compensation for families in need, prevented manufacturers from abandoning the vaccine market, and ensured a stable supply of vaccines to protect against countless childhood diseases.

“Today, the US Supreme Court affirmed what pediatricians have been advocating for decades,” said Burton. “Vaccines save lives.”

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented. Associate Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics