Anna Kirkland, PhD, Professor of Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan
“The Vaccine Injury System expresses our ethical obligations. If we are going to have a system of vaccines promoted by law and backed with legal coercion, when something does go wrong, we have to have a compensation system.”
Despite this talk about moral obligation to compensate, if you “read” between the lines of Professor Kirkland’s lecture, she appears to suggest that the benefit of the Vaccine Court is in silencing vaccine-injury reports.
In Kirkland’s opinion, The importance of the Vaccine Court is:
- It has kept those folks from being part of social moments and, perhaps, quite sympathetic ones, because they would have much better cases than the folks who are left uncompensated.
- Bringing in social movement actors and drawing their attention, making legal arguments, presenting them, as opposed to doing something else that could be more bothersome to absorb for the immunization of social order.
The vaccine manufacturers send representatives to all these meetings. I talked to a GSK representative, willing to talk to me informally but never on the record. They are there watching things.
One of the consequences of this system is that “pharmaceutical companies are doing things now that are harmful and they are getting away with things that they would not be able to get away with otherwise.”
“We have this administrative system set up for the people who are injured by vaccines, which do happen, we concede, they do happen. And in a society that promotes vaccination the way we do, we also have to promote compensation for people who are injured.”
Examples of amendments that have not been approved by congress:
- Extending the statute of limitations
- Benefits are not keyed to any index and not been adjusted since 1986.