Document Type

Issue Brief

Publication Date



This paper summarizes liability and compensation concerns surrounding the smallpox vaccination program announced by President Bush on December 13, 2002. The paper examines the nature of adverse health events that are likely to occur in connection with the smallpox vaccine, assesses the liability protections that have been established for organizations and individuals participating in the vaccination program, and discusses the compensation mechanisms being considered to address the damages incurred by volunteers who may suffer from adverse vaccine reactions. Specifically, the implications of the Federal Tort Claims Act, workers’ compensation programs, and the creation of a new no-fault compensation fund are explored.


Issue brief no. 788

Open Access




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