How Canada was Affected by the 1986 US Vaccine Legislation

Updated: Oct 11

Chapter 11: Article 4


Vaccine profitability exploded when makers were no longer held liable in the USA for the injuries vaccines caused to Americans. Subsequently, the American vaccine schedule nearly tripled over the next two decades.

The government recommends (or requires) vaccination, meaning that vaccine makers have a guaranteed market. In the US, approximately 4 million babies are born each year. Because vaccines are used as a part of a public health strategy, there is no advertising expense for vaccines (for those vaccines on the childhood schedule). Also, because vaccines are classified as a biologic, they are not required to go through the long term rigorous, randomized, double blind, placebo controlled safety trials, like is required for pharmaceutical drugs. Of course rigorous, long term clinical trials are considerably more expensive to conduct, compared to fast tracked more simplified clinical testing. And of course, financial risk via product liability and lawsuits, that expense was eliminated completely in the US. As a result, the vaccine profit margin grew astronomically, and subsequently the pharmaceutical industry began creating more and more vaccines.

After the creation of each new vaccine, vaccine makers then approached the CDC to have each new vaccine added to the childhood vaccination schedule. This is because it is only those vaccines on the childhood schedule, whether administered to a child or adult, that have immunity from lawsuits in the US. The CDC complied. Since 1986, the number of vaccines recommended for American children has increased drastically. Before the 1986 legislation, American children were given 24 doses of 7 vaccines from birth to 18 years of age. Today, American infants receive more than that, receiving 26 doses of 9 vaccines in their first 6 months of life. Looking at the schedule today, from birth to 18 years of age, American children now receive 69 doses of 16 vaccines.

There is often confusion regarding how those "vaccine dosage" numbers are derived. To explain, vaccine preventable illnesses each have their own individual and unique vaccine, and sometimes those vaccines are later combined into combination vials. For example, the measles vaccine, mumps vaccine, and rubella vaccines are each made individually and specifically for those three separate illnesses. As the vaccine schedule grew, vaccines were combined into different combo shots, in this example producing the combined MMR vaccine, which reduced the number of injections that a child has to receive. The pro-choice often refer to MMR as either three separate vaccines, or three separate vaccine doses within one combination shot. 

To frame this a different way, if you took one pill of each, Tylenol, Advil, and Aspirin should that be considered 3 separate drugs? Would it be fair to say 3 doses of pain killer? Or should we insist that such a combo be classified as a single dose of a single painkiller? I think most people would agree that such a combination could be referenced fairly as three distinct drugs administered at the same time, or three pain killer doses administered together.

Though Canada did not end up removing manufacturer liability through the creation of a vaccine compensation program for its citizens, Canadians were still affected by this American legislation. As the American vaccine schedule grew drastically, the Canadian vaccine schedule also grew, changing nearly identically with only minor differences. Before the 1986 American legislation, Canadian children also received 24 doses of 7 vaccines from birth to 18 years of age. Today, Canadianinfants receives 26 doses of 10 vaccines by six months of age. Looking at the Canadian schedule from birth to 18 years of age, Canadian children today receive 69 doses of 16 vaccines.

As of 2012, Canada and Russia were the only G8 Nations without a vaccine compensation program. Because of this, technically Canadians can still sue vaccine makers. A CTV article, which was highlighting the reality that Canada doesn’t have a compensation program, went on to explain that vaccine lawsuits cannot be won in Canada because Canadian judges believe that regardless the vaccine injury, the person would still have chosen to accept that vaccine risk, even if they had been warned. I disagree. If people were actually informed about vaccine safety issues and informed about the legitimate risks (beyond fever and redness/soreness at the injection site) I personally believe there’d likely be fewer people willing to accept these risks. And it's because people would refuse, that they are not informed of these risks.

Separate from that, even if vaccine lawsuits were winnable here in Canada, it’s likely that the average Canadian citizen simply could not afford the financial cost necessary to pursue legal action. When pharmaceutical companies are sued over the adverse events that their drugs cause, their lawyers drag out the legal proceedings for as long as possible, to strain and wear out the plaintiff, emotionally, mentally, and financially.

Terrance Young, a Canadian MP, explains his experience suing a pharmaceutical company for his daughter’s death, which was caused by the prescription drug Prepulsid. After a gruelling 6 year battle, the drug maker offered him a settlement. He wrote a book about the whole ordeal, and explained how impossible and hopeless the legal process felt at times. His book was titled Death by Prescription.

In an interview, Young shares the following information about the Canadian medical system:

…[The drug maker] fought me for six years with motions in court, hoping I would either die or give up and that's what they always do with plaintiffs. If anybody dares sue them, they use their money in court and their huge advantage under civil procedure laws. They virtually never give in until they quietly, basically coerce the family into settling out of court..

In his book, he explains:

…”These companies have more money than many countries, and unlimited money for lawyers. They’ll take on governments and win. (pg 70)

In the interview he stated:

…They have so much money they actually intimidate governments and I'm not exaggerating, I've been told this by many experts.

In the book, he explains how Canadian court cases and settlements work. He said:

...in Canada there are very few drug liability lawsuits compared to the United States. And even if they are sued and lose, the maximum damages a drug company would have to pay in Canadian courts for a death of a child are small, maybe fifty to a hundred thousand dollars. That’s nothing to them. They’d spend multiples of that on a free trip for the top sales reps... (pg 63)

It’s David versus Goliath. Most victims settle out of court because they can’t face the huge risk of losing, or being ordered to pay a half-million dollars for the drug company’s legal costs. Who can risk half a million dollars to win $100,000? And lawyers in Canada won’t take on a case like that without money upfront. Most people can’t afford it. Besides, grieving families are emotionally devastated and want closure. (pg 64)

In the interview, he shared the following information:

In-hospital prescribed drugs are the fourth-leading cause of death in this country.

There is a law that a CEO of a public or private corporation must improve the shareholder value. That's a law, and if he or she doesn't do that they could be sued, they could be in big trouble. But there is no law against putting a dangerous drug on the market. Patients must rely on the civil courts.

…In the big picture, I wrote the book to save lives because what I discovered about the pharmaceutical industry in five years of research of how the medical profession aid and abet them in marketing drugs and putting people at risk was absolutely shocking.


Article Sources

  • A lot of what Young stated in his interview (Link Here), was similar to what David Graham, (the FDA whistleblower) stated in his interview (Link Here). You can learn more from Young in the book he wrote titled Death by Prescription: A Father Takes on his Daughter's Killer (Link Here)

  • Take a read through the CTV article which explains what happens in Canada if you or your child is vaccine injured. (Link Here) The research paper that was highlighted in that CTV article is titled: Designing a No-Fault Vaccine-Injury Compensation Programme for Canada: Lessons Learned from an International Analysis of Programmes (Link Here)

  • An article that explains the lack of transparency here in Canada - pharma paying Canadian doctors (Link Here)

  • Past & Present Vaccination Schedules in the US (Link Here)

  • Current Vaccination Schedule in Canada (Province of Alberta) (Link Here)

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