Actually, it doesn't. It means the program is working as it was designed to do. No medical intervention is without risk, including vaccines. There have been, and there will be, people who suffer permanent, significant, adverse consequences from vaccination. The rate of such injury is about 1 per million doses of vaccine.
I estimate that there have been more than 1.8 billion doses of vaccines administered to children six and under since the program began. The average ratio of vaccine awards per million doses of vaccines is...1.3. By my estimation, the awards amount to about $0.99 cents for every vaccine administered. Here are the calculations (click to embiggen)
Estimated number of vaccines administered:
I set the uptake rate at 90%, which is artificially low, and derived the live birth numbers vaccine schedule from sources listed at the bottom of the post. Note that this estimate is only for pediatric vaccines administered from birth through age six, ignoring the later pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines. So there's a significant undercounting of the actual number of vaccines administered.
Awards per dose of vaccine administered:
Remember, we are only counting pediatric vaccines here, so the number of doses is underestimated. The number of awards, however, is accurate and is the government's data. Remember, we are talking about awards per million doses administered.
Dollar value of awards per dose administered
Remember, the number of doses administered is underestimated.
Some other real risks:
In 2007, a total of 4,703 children under four and under died in the US. The two major causes were accidents and birth defects.
Pediatric deaths associated with influenza: 115 from September 1, 2010, through August 31, 2011.
Don't be buffaloed by anti-vaccination lies and spin.
(note: these tables may give the impression that vaccine-injury awards are disbursed in the year of the injury. This is an incorrect impression. From the statistics page of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program:
Generally, petitions/claims are not adjudicated in the same fiscal year as filed. On average, it takes 2-3 years to adjudicate a petition/claim after it is filed.
"Compensated" are claims that have been paid as a result of a settlement between parties or a decision made by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Court). The number of awards is the number of petitioner awards paid, including the attorneys' fees/costs payments, if made during a fiscal year. However, petitioners' awards and attorneys' fees/costs are not necessarily paid in the same fiscal year as when the petitions/claims are determined compensable.
Due to the populations receiving vaccines added to the VICP in recent years, the proportion of adults to children seeking compensation has changed. Since influenza vaccines (vaccines administered to large numbers of adults each year) were added to the VICP in 2005, many adult claims related to that vaccine have been filed.
1995 recommendations http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2607878/?page=5