To be compensated in the Vaccine Program, an individual must establish a causal link between the vaccination and an injury or death. This can be accomplished in one of two ways.
First, a petitioner may demonstrate an On-Table injury. The Vaccine Injury Table is a chart that includes a list of covered vaccinations, select corresponding injuries, and the timeframes in which one might experience the listed adverse event.
An On-Table injury is a specified injury following a listed vaccine that occurs within a specified period of time, as outlined on the Vaccine Table, located at 42 USC § 300aa-14. On-Table injuries are presumed to have been caused by the vaccination, and the petitioner is entitled to compensation unless it is affirmatively shown that the injury was caused by some factor other than the vaccination.
In 2017, Guillain-Barré Syndrome (“GBS”) was added to the Vaccine Table. GBS is considered an On-Table injury for the flu vaccination when symptoms begin between 3 and 42 days following vaccination. If an individual experiences GBS after receiving a flu shot, and the onset of his or her symptoms occurs within 3 to 42 days of vaccination, that injured individual may have an On-Table claim in the Vaccine Program.
In the event that a petitioner does not meet the On-Table requirements, he or she may still prevail by showing a vaccine was the legal cause of an injury. For example, if a petitioner experienced the onset of GBS following a vaccination other than the flu vaccination (tetanus-containing vaccinations, HPV vaccinations, etc.), a petitioner may have a viable Off-Table claim in the Vaccine Program. To establish by preponderant evidence that a vaccine caused an Off-Table injury, a petitioner must show: (1) A medical theory causally connecting the vaccination and the injury; (2) a logical sequence of cause and effect showing that the vaccination was the reason for the injury; and (3) a showing of a proximate temporal relationship between the vaccination and injury.
Many claims filed are “off-Table” claims. A petitioner may file a claim seeking compensation for an injury sustained after vaccination even if the claim does not fall within the strict limits of the Vaccine Injury Table.