The National Vaccine Information Center
512 W. Maple Ave., #206
Vienna, VA  22180
Contact: 703-938-0342

For immediate release
September 27, 1999


   Washington, D.C. - The National Vaccine Information Center will call on
Congress tomorrow to keep an old promise made to parents of vaccine injured
children 13 years ago when it passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury
Act of 1986 and created a federal vaccine injury compensation alternative to
a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers and physicians.  In testimony
submitted to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy
and Human Resources for a hearing on the compensation portion of the law (10
a.m., Room 2154, Rayburn House Office Building), NVIC charges that the
Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Justice have violated
the "spirit and intent of the law" and turned what Congress promised parents
would be a "non-adversarial, expeditious and informal process" into a
"highly adversarial, lengthy, traumatic and unfair imitation of a lawsuit."

   Pointing out that three out of four children are turned away for federal
compensation for permanent immune system and brain damage following receipt
of mandated vaccines, NVIC co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher
stated that the public hearing offers hope to families with vaccine injured
children that Congress will act to insure that "the qualities of justice,
equity, charity and mercy do, in the end, prevail in our society."

   NVIC is asking Congress to roll back the changes that DHHS made to the
1986 law, which the parent-led vaccine safety advocacy organization terms "a
fatal compromise of its integrity" and is urging the addition of new
incentives for DHHS and Justice to adhere to the "spirit and intent" of the
law, including:

... Restoring the guiding principal of "presumption" allowing evidence that
certain signs and symptoms of a vaccine reaction has taken place within
proscribed time periods wherein the vaccine(s) can be presumed to be the
cause of the child's in-jury or death if no other alternative biological
cause can be found;

... Reinstating the original rules and definitions of vaccine injury
governing compensation awards endorsed by Congress in 1986 which were
eliminated or significantly weakened by DHHS in 1995;

... Extending the time period for the filing of vaccine injury compensation
claims to the age of majority and instituting deadlines in the compensation
system process to expedite awards;

... Re-opening the compensation program to children denied compensation
after DHHS narrowed the rules for compensation in 1995; and

... Prohibiting the addition of future vaccines until further scientific
research is con-ducted to better define the biological mechanism of vaccine
injury and death;

   NVIC's testimony highlights the fact that some 70 percent of all
compensation system awards have been made for injuries and deaths caused by
the whole cell pertussis vaccine (the "P" part of the DPT vaccine). Because
a purified, less toxic DtaP vaccine was licensed by the FDA for use in all
children in 1996, NVIC is urging Congress to recommend removal of the
license from vaccine manufacturers to sell whole cell pertussis vaccine in
the US, including the termination of all federal investment in clinical
trials and other research involving development of new combination vaccines
containing the old whole cell pertussis vaccine.

   Tomorrow's hearing is being called by Subcommittee Chairman John Mica
(R-FL) to examine the implementation of the federally-administered vaccine
injury compensation program portion of the 1986 law.  Congressman Mica held
a hearing on May 18, 1999 to investigate reports of hepatitis B vaccine
injuries and deaths, which was followed by a hearing called by Chairman Dan
Burton (R-IN) in the full Government Reform Committee on Aug. 3 to review
the reported links between vaccination and autism, infant death as well as
other vaccine-related autoimmune and neurological disorders.

   The National Vaccine Information Center is a national, non-profit
educational organization founded by parents of vaccine injured children in
1982 and dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public
education.  For more information, access or call