In the U.S. Supreme Court’s first major vaccine-related ruling in more than 15 years, the justices held that design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers are pre-empted under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. 42 U.S.C.A. § 300aa-22(b)(1). The decision in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, 131 S. Ct. 1068 (Feb. 22, 2011), represented a broad application of the act’s scope and means that vaccine manufacturers will no longer be subject to liability under state tort law under most circumstances. Although much of the Court’s analysis centered on statutory interpretation, public policy considerations were evident in both the majority and dissenting opinion.
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