Parents, Doctors Have Mixed Reaction To Supreme Court Ruling On Vaccine Lawsuits

Wednesday, February 23rd 2011, 7:12 pm
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Supreme Court has decided parents can no longer sue the makers of childhood vaccines, even if its proven the vaccine hurt their children. Many have mixed reactions to the justices' decision.

The ruling has outraged a number of parents who have major issues with some of the vaccines. But doctors and immunization directors applaud the ruling, saying the benefits of having vaccines far outweigh the risks.

Most parents are following doctor's orders and getting the shots for their kids, but not parent Latina Bell.

She just moved to Oklahoma City from Kansas and said she and her daughter Rikki are severely allergic to the shots.

"I've been allergic to all the booster shots. I can't have them and now my daughter is and we're paying the price. She can't go to school over it," said Bell.

She is angry the Supreme Court is leaving parents like her out of the equation.

"I don't think it's right. Because of the vaccinations the company should have to pay for it," Bell said.

The court ruled parents can no longer sue drug makers of childhood vaccines for any serious side effects the immunizations may have caused. Doctors are saying it's the right call.

"The system as its designed is to bring the greatest good to the greatest number. That is a hard thing when you are the one in a million who has a problem," said family physician Dr. Russell Kohl.

Don Blose, Chief Of Immunization Services at the Oklahoma State Health Department, said Congress set up a vaccination court and compensation fund back in the 80's to deal with the cases when something does go wrong.

"And sometimes the compensation is an extreme amount. Over millions of dollars have been awarded due to vaccine claims," said Blose.

Parents like Bell say they plan to fight back.

"And they are going to have a fight on their hands. You don't mess with my child and don't tell me my child is going to get shots she's allergic to," said Bell.

Both doctors and the health department say cases like Bell and her daughter are rare but admit they do happen. However, they said vaccines as a whole help stop the spread of many deadly diseases.