Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) in 1986, and President Ronald Reagan signed it into law soon after. This law was supposed to protect children. However, and the NCVIA does less to protect patients than it does drug companies making vaccines. When Reagan signed the NCVIA, he also created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which allows anyone—children and adults—who have suffered an injury (or worse) following a vaccination to file a claim. To date, it has paid out nearly $4 billion in compensation since 1988, including the 2008 case of Hannah Poling, whose family received more than $1.5 million in the first-ever court award for a vaccine-autism claim. The NCVIA also sets limits on the liability of vaccine manufacturers. They don’t have to pay a dime, in most cases, if someone is injured as a result of a product they make.

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