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The vaccination injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center remain committed to representing our clients who have been harmed by vaccines to ensure they receive financial compensation.
What are Vaccines?
Vaccinations are biologically prepared materials that provide acquired immunity to prevent the spread of life-threatening diseases that serve the public good at providing an effective and safe way to combat contagions. However, they are not without their controversy. While vaccines provide a safety net to the health and well-being of the population, some individuals develop severe adverse reactions when the vaccine is given orally, through an injection, or by aerosol. In an effort to ensure public safety, the U.S. government developed the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to provide financial recompense to those who suffered serious harm after receiving a vaccine.
The History of Vaccines
Immunizing the population is certainly not a new idea. The practice dates back to the 18th century when Edward Jenner inoculated a young boy with cowpox (vaccinia virus) to make his body immune to smallpox. A few years later, scientists developed a smallpox vaccine that was slowly eradicated in areas of the globe up until 1979. No other outbreaks have occurred since then.
Louis Pasteur developed both inactivate of anthrax vaccine and live attenuated cholera vaccine at the turn of the 20th century. In 1923, inactive tetanus vaccine was developed by Alexander Glenny. The first vaccine was first licensed in the United States came in 1948 when scientists developed immunity against pertussis. Drs. Salk (active) and Sabin (inactive) developed the polio vaccine that has since eradicated the devastating effects of the disease in many areas of the globe. The most common vaccinations offered to the public in the United States include:
- Adenovirus vaccine
- Anthrax vaccine
- Chickenpox (varicella)
- DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
- Yellow fever
When the time comes to vaccinate their children, many parents suffer from the idea of causing harm should something go wrong. However, there are important reasons why your child should be vaccinated. Five of these include:
- The immunization can save the life of the child
- For nearly all children, vaccinations are effective and safe
- Vaccinations prevent contagious diseases from spreading
- Vaccinations can minimize the child’s absence from their school or day care facility
- Vaccinations protect provide protection for future generations
Vaccines and Autism
Certainly, the controversy about vaccinations and autism started in 1998, when Dr. Andrew Wakefield, first published a paper in the Lancet showing a correlation between receiving vaccinations in the development of autism. The article went viral around the world where both parents and pediatricians were instilled with fear. It was not until the end of 2012 after dozens of studies involving millions of children revealed that there was no causal relationship existing between receiving vaccinations and developing autism.
Even though the correlation between the two was proven not to exist, 25 percent of all parents United States still believe that some vaccinations can develop autism in even the healthiest child. Since the article was first published, nearly two percent of all parents still choose not to have their children vaccinated for either philosophical or religious reasons. Most medical and scientific experts believe there is no correlation vaccines and autism.
Common Vaccine Side Effects
All vaccines have the potential of causing side effects and adverse reactions in unsuspecting child, adolescent, and adult patients. Typically, most of the side effects are minor where the child or adult experiences a low-grade fever or a sore arm that often goes away after hours or days. Many researchers, doctors, parents, and the CDC believed that not immunizing a child comes with its own risks including the potential risk of contracting a potentially fatal disease. Mild vaccine side effects include:
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
- Sore throat
- Stuffy nose
The list of side effects above tends to occur within two weeks after receiving the vaccination. More serious vaccine side effects involve:
- Inflammation of the intestines or stomach
- Urine-associated or stool-associated blood
Each individual type of vaccine has its own associated side effects. Specifically, these include:
- Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine – Common side effects include fever, injection site soreness Injection site swelling/redness, fever, vomiting, seizures, high fever, non-stop crying, and poor appetite.
- Hepatitis A Vaccine – Individuals who are given hepatitis A vaccinations can develop minor problems that include: tiredness, headaches, low-grade fever, redness, or soreness at the injection site. The side effects typically last for a day or two.
- Hepatitis B Vaccination – Individuals who have been given the hepatitis B vaccination shot usually have injection site soreness and temperatures that can climb to 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit degrees or higher.
- Human Papilloma Virus Vaccination – Males and females receiving the HPV vaccination can develop common serious side effects that include redness, swelling, or soreness at the injection site, high fevers, and headaches.
- Inactivated Influenza Vaccine – Typically individuals who are given the flu shot can develop common side effects include hoarseness, injection site swelling/redness, itchy, red, or sore eyes, aches, fever, and cough.
- Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Vaccines – The MMR vaccination can cause unexpected death in rare cases. Other common side effects include fever, swollen glands, deafness, permanent brain damage, coma, long-term seizures, lowered consciousness, temporary pain, temporary low platelet count, seizures, and a mild rash.
Who Should Avoid Vaccinations
Many individuals, especially young children, should avoid receiving the vaccination until they are age-appropriate, or can be determined that they will not have an allergic reaction unexpectedly after the vaccination is given. Wiley’s vaccination’s contraindications are different, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) offers generalized information on individuals who avoid taking vaccinations. These include:
- Any individual suffering serious life-threatening allergies to the components used to formulate the vaccination.
- Women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant in the months prior to receiving a vaccination.
- Children who have collapsed or had a seizure after receiving dosages of a vaccination, especially DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis).
- Individuals who have developed GBS (Guillain-Barré syndrome).
- Those with a weakened immune system.
- Individuals who have received treatment with medications that affect the immune system including oral steroids at high doses.
- Mothers who are breastfeeding (in some cases)
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
In 1989, the United States Congress funded the newly formed National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to provide individuals with financial compensation who are injured after receiving certain vaccinations. The vaccinations covered by the compensation program include:
- Hepatitis A vaccine
- Hepatitis B vaccine
- Polio vaccination
- Rotavirus vaccine
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines
- Chickenpox vaccinations
- Flu shots
- Pertussis vaccine
- Meningococcal vaccine
- Tetanus vaccination
- Hemophilus influenza type B vaccine
- Human Papilloma Virus vaccination
- Measles, Mumps, and rubella vaccines
Deciding to Vaccinate
Every parent wants to understand exactly how vaccinations work and if they cause side effects, risks, or adverse reactions. Parents are often concerned because they must give their child multiple shots during a single doctor’s visit. However, the CDC says that these injections protect the child against numerous infectious diseases and keep them from becoming extremely ill. The federal agency says that “the vaccination schedule is designed to protect young children before they are likely to be exposed to potentially serious diseases and when they are most vulnerable to serious infections.”
“As children get older, they require additional doses of some vaccines for best protection. Older kids also need to be protected against additional diseases they may encounter.” The type of collective vaccination develops “herd immunity” that safeguard others in the community from highly contagious infections and diseases. These individuals tend to be:
- Newborns who are too young to inject with a vaccination
- Pregnant women
- Children and adults who have yet to be vaccinated
- Elderly individuals
- Individuals who suffer from allergic reactions components in vaccinations
- Those with weakened immune systems including those suffering from chronic illness, asthma or are undergoing cancer treatment
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration routinely monitors vaccination products for their safety and efficacy based on studies and rigorous safety testing to keep the public safe.
Vaccinations and Pregnancy
The CDC says that vaccinations can help protect the family against serious diseases and offers guidelines on what to do before, during and after pregnancy. The agency states that “some vaccines, such as measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, should be given a month or more before pregnancy.” The mother should also receive the Tdap (whooping cough vaccination) during pregnancy. “Other vaccines, like the flu shot, can be given before and during pregnancy, depending on whether or not it is flu season when you are pregnant. It is safe for you to receive vaccines right after giving birth, even while you are breastfeeding. Be sure to discuss each vaccine with your health care provider before getting vaccinated.”
Vaccinations against Rubella
Receiving the rubella vaccination can be crucial to every pregnant woman. The CDC states that “even before becoming pregnant, make sure you are up-to-date on all your vaccines. This will protect you and your child against serious diseases. For example, rubella is a contagious disease that can be very dangerous if you get it while you are pregnant. In fact, they can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects. The CDC recommends that mothers receive a pre-pregnancy blood test to determine their immunity levels against measles, mumps, and rubella.
Vaccinations and Traveling
Many individuals travel worldwide on vacation, pleasure, or business. Vaccinating against preventable diseases when traveling occurring in other nations can help prevent the spread of infection when the individual returns. Because of that, vaccinations are imperative to ensure that worldwide public health stays healthy. Many of these vaccinations are recommended and others are required when involved in international travel. The United States requires and recommends that individuals receive various vaccinations before traveling internationally. These include:
- Hepatitis A
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Yellow Fever
- Twinrix (Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B)
Filing a Vaccination Injury Lawsuit
The vaccination injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center specialize in the complexities of handling a compensation case involving mandatory vaccinations that caused injury. Our team of dedicated attorneys can ensure that you recover monetary compensation to reimburse you for your damages including medical expenses, lost wages, ongoing medical care, pain, suffering and mental anguish.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to a dangerous vaccination, our team of dedicated attorneys can help. We are currently postponing payment of our fees until after we have settled your financial recovery case. Our law firm provides a “no-win/no fee” guarantee to our clients if we are unable to secure financial compensation on your behalf or win your case at trial. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary case evaluation to discuss the merits of your claim.