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Vaccine CourtThe Law and Politics of Injury$
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Anna Kirkland

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479876938

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479876938.001.0001

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Knowing Vaccine Injury through Law

Knowing Vaccine Injury through Law

(p.117) 4 Knowing Vaccine Injury through Law
Vaccine Court

Anna Kirkland

NYU Press

This chapter poses the question of how it matters that we have legalized vaccine injury in the ways that we have. Describing our institution in detail, the chapter focuses on the contemporary, ordinary business of the vaccine court, describing the kinds of professionals who work there and how they do their jobs. The most interesting cases are the middle-ground cases, in which there is some reputable story of how a vaccine might have caused the injury and no studies accepted as definitive that rule it out, and so the court has adapted a way of compensating these people but without full agreement that vaccines are truly the cause. The U.S. vaccine court design is part of a globally shared understanding that some kind of vaccine injury compensation is appropriate, but the chapter shows how the U.S. program stands out among the nineteen other systems across the industrialized world. The chapter also compares the vaccine court to other kinds of domestic alternative compensation schemes such as the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Keywords:   court, cases, vaccine injury causation, compensation, September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

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