Emory Law Journal


Mary S. Holland


The 2017 Thrower Symposium focused on how law addresses serious global public health challenges. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other national health bodies strongly recommend vaccines in many circumstances. Yet there is a scientific consensus that vaccines can and do cause harm and death in certain individuals, even when vaccines are properly manufactured and appropriately administered. In the United States, vaccine manufacturers have attained an extremely high level of liability protection through legislation and judicial interpretation. The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (the Vaccine Act); the 2005 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (the PREP Act); and Bruesewitz v. Wyeth LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court¿s decision interpreting the Vaccine Act, together afford vaccine manufacturers almost blanket liability protection from damages for vaccine harms. This Article looks at current models for vaccine injury liability in the United States and the European Union, and also focuses on possibilities for the developing world in the future.