What to Know About Vaccine Injuries
Vaccines are supposed to help protect people from serious illnesses, and most people receive them without suffering harm. However, complications from vaccines sometimes cause life-threatening injuries that might be worse than the disease they were meant to prevent.
The Difference Between a Bad Reaction and Injuries from Vaccines
Bad reactions to vaccines typically involve mild and temporary side effects, such as soreness or redness at the injection site, dizziness, or fever. On the other hand, vaccine injuries – also called adverse events – can cause permanent disabilities, life-threatening illnesses, or death.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) receives an estimated 30,000 reports of vaccine injuries each year, of which 10 to 15 percent involve a serious medical event.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there is a small chance that a vaccine might cause a severe allergic reaction that leads to death or serious injuries.
Some of other the serious complications or injuries that vaccines might cause include:
- Brain damage
- Unusual bleeding
- Spinal cord swelling
- Guillain Barre Syndrome
- Bowel obstruction
What Is the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?
Congress established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) in 1988 to provide compensation for victims or their families for injuries or death caused by vaccines. While VICP does not have age restrictions, the program does have time limits on how long victims have to file a claim.
VICP covers harm caused by many common vaccines, but it doesn’t cover every vaccine.
According to the VICP, the program received nearly 20,000 petitions between 1988 and 2018, but only about 6,000 of these claims received compensation. In this time period, nearly 18,000 claims were related to injuries, and over 1,000 were related to deaths. A large percentage of the claims involved the DTP, Influenza, MMR, and Hepatitis B vaccines.
Are Children More Likely to Be Injured by a Vaccine?
It is unclear whether vaccines are more likely to injure children than adults. For one, babies are vulnerable to many diseases that vaccines help prevent. Medical professionals urge parents to vaccinate their children because they say that the consequences of these diseases are much worse than the risks of vaccines.
Additionally, there are limitations on data available that link injuries to vaccines. Just because someone reports an adverse event doesn’t necessarily mean that vaccination caused the injury.
This information is particularly difficult to track when it comes to children. According to the CDC, young children face the highest risk for seizures, high fevers, and other adverse medical events. Although some children might experience these events after a vaccine, it might be coincidental and unrelated to the vaccine.
That said, the CDC lists the risks of vaccines for a reason. Infants and young children may be especially susceptible to certain risk factors, such as high fevers.
Sustaining a serious reaction and injury from a vaccine is rare, but when it occurs, it’s important to immediately seek medical help, and then to contact an attorney. Vaccine injury cases are complex, but an experienced vaccine injury attorney can review your case in detail to help you determine the best path forward.
How Our Injury Lawyers Can Help with a Vaccine Injury Claim
If you or your child suffered an injury you think was caused by a vaccine, contact a Washington, DC vaccine injury attorney at Bertram Law Group, PLLC right away. Our trusted team includes in-house medical professionals who can review your case for free and help you understand your legal options.
To schedule your free consultation, contact us now by phone or online.