The United States Vaccine Court Does Not Consider Autism a Vaccine-Related Injury

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act

In 1986 the United States enacted the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. [1] This Act created a federal trust fund to be used to compensate people with vaccine-related injuries and the families of those that have died after receiving a vaccine. The money in the federal trust fund comes from a $0.75 excise tax on vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for routine administration to children. [2] People can petition the Court of Federal Claim’s Vaccine Court for compensation. In order to obtain compensation for a vaccine-related injury or death, a petitioner must show that either he or she received a vaccine and suffered an injury on the Vaccine Injury Table [3] or that a vaccine caused an injury. [4]

Is there a Link Between Vaccines and Autism?

Since its enactment, thousands of claims have been made to the Court of Federal Claims claiming a link between childhood vaccines and autism. As a result, the Court held an Omnibus Autism Proceeding [5] to determine the relationship between vaccines and autism and to determine entitlement to compensation. [6] The Court combined multiple cases and reviewed the evidence to find a causal link between childhood vaccines and autism. [7] The Court held a weeks-long hearing during which it heard from multiple experts on each side of the issue. In the end, the Court concluded that thimerosal containing vaccines (TCVs) could not harm infant immune systems and that the MMR vaccine and TCVs could not cause autism.

Because of the Court’s conclusions made in the Omnibus Proceedings, the Court of Federal Claims does not currently compensate individuals claiming to suffer from autism as a result of a vaccine.

Compensable Injuries Caused by Vaccines

While the Court of Federal Claims does not consider autism to be a compensable injury caused by vaccines, the Court regularly compensates those with other injuries, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which is a disorder causing a person’s own immune system to damage its own nerve cells. This nerve damage can cause muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. [8] Some commonly reported vaccines that may lead to GBS include: influenza vaccine, HPV vaccine, MMR vaccine, hepatitis B vaccine, and others. In a recent case the Court of Federal Claims awarded a lump sum payment of $100,000.00 to an individual that suffers from GBS after receiving a flu vaccine. [9] This award is one of many awards ordered by the Court of Federal Claims each year. Learn more about vaccine injuries here.

[1] 42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to -34.
[2] 26 U.S.C. § 9510.
[3] A copy of the Vaccine Injury Table is available from the Health Resources and Services Administration at
[4] Id.
[5] Information related to the Autism Omnibus Hearing can be found at the Court’s website at
[6] Cedillo v. Sec’y of Health and Human Servs., 617 F.3d 1328 (USCA Fed. Cir. 2010).
[7] Id.; Hazlehurst v. Sec’y of Health of Human Servs., No. 03-654V; Snyder v. Sec’y of Health and Human Servs., No. 01-162V.
[9] Alfred McDaniel v. Sec’y of Health and Human Servs., No. 14-1240V, available at