Vaccines | The American Association For Justice



For years, some children have had severe reactions to vaccines, including brain damage and death. The diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine (DTP), first sold as a combined product in the 1940s, is given to millions of children in the United States every year. Reports of seizure, paralysis, and death from the vaccine first appeared during the decade of its introduction, but it was not until the 1980s that studies began to show that tragic adverse effects were not just one in a million. Vaccine cases also involve adverse reactions to polio, MMR, rubella, OPV, and HiB vaccines. These reactions may be due to medical negligence, inadequate product warnings, or defective batches of the product.

Recently, the group has added mercury content of vaccines as one of its concerns. A bacteriocide, thimerosal, containing organic mercury at levels known to be toxic to infants, was used in multi-dose packages of many maternal, infant and early childhood vaccines on a rapidly increasing basis in the 1990s. Recently, the entire industry quietly switched to singled dose packaging and mercury is no longer used in childhood vaccines in this country. Long range studies on the scope of toxic effects on the 20-30,000,000 children exposed to toxic injections of organic mercury are only now just getting underway. Litigation over this heavy metal iatrogenic disaster will last many years. The litigation group will help to coordinate and communicate among the many different law firms pursuing both individual damage actions and class actions all over the US and Canada and will help lawyers whose clients have injury claims pending in the Vaccine Compensation Program in the Federal Claims Court.


After nearly 100 suits for death and brain damage were filed in the early 1980s, the vaccine manufacturers joined to lobby Congress for passage of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986. This is a federal no-fault tort system for compensating victims of vaccine injury. It provides for an election of remedies, allowing civil tort actions or accepting the findings of the U.S Court of Federal Claims.

This group, formed in 1982 as a result of the rise in products liability actions, was instrumental in passing technical amendments to the act. So far, the many judgments handed down by the courts have generally been sufficient to compensate for the future needs of the infant victims of childhood vaccine injury.

Benefits & Resources:

Information available to members includes a complete file of industry documents, trial transcripts, depositions of corporate representatives, Food and Drug Administration reports of vaccine reactions, journal and newspaper articles, and legal research.
Through a secure website, the group will post copies of all available pleadings, and other documents from thimerosal cases, outlines of the scientific and medical literature, and links to web sites and other sources of public information. The litigation group tracks all of the ongoing studies that are underway or which will soon be underway by industry, by the government, and by private funding sources.


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