Varicella is the name of a disease that many are not familiar with, but will certainly know of it when they hear of its more common name, chickenpox. This is a condition that predominantly strikes children, but it can also affect adults. Varicella is a skin condition that results in a rash and blisters. Symptoms can also include fatigue and fever. The disease is highly contagious and can spread through contact with coughs and sneezes or by touching the blisters. Many of us were sick with chickenpox as a kid and, as a result, cannot get it as an adult because patients can only get chickenpox once.
Children today do not get chickenpox in the same numbers as before because there was a vaccine that was developed for the sickness in 1995. This vaccine can be as much as 90 percent effective in preventing cases of chickenpox and the number of cases has fallen dramatically since the vaccine was introduced to the market. Now, chickenpox vaccinations are part of the regular and routine roster of vaccinations that children receive.
The varicella vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine. This means that it contains live virus as a means of building up antibodies against chickenpox. The virus that is included in the varicella vaccine is derived from the Oka strain of chickenpox.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that children receive two chickenpox vaccinations. The first one is given when the child is between 12 and 15 months old. The second vaccination is given a few years later, when the child is between the ages of four and six. While the vaccine is given primarily to children, adults can receive it too if they were not vaccinated as a child.
There are two different types of the vaccine, each made by a different manufacturer. The first type is called Vairvax, and it is a single-antigen vaccine that is specifically for chickenpox. Varivax is made by Merck, a company that is also engaged in manufacturing shingles vaccines. The second varicella vaccine is called ProQuad. This is a multi-purpose vaccine that is meant to prevent both varicella as well as measles, mumps and rubella. Proquad is also made by Merck.
Proquad is the newer of the two vaccines as it was approved by the FDA in 2005. Proquad has gained in popularity as physicians prefer to give children one vaccination that can prevent multiple illnesses as opposed to numerous injections and vaccines.
There are numerous possible side effects and complications from varicella. While the vaccine generally has a relatively low rate of complications, the side effects that patients do experience can be serious. These complications are compensable when you retain a vaccine injury lawyer to fight for you and your family. Below are some of the varicella vaccine side effects.
Not only can patients suffer an allergic reaction from varicella vaccine, but they can also develop allergies. Varicella vaccine has numerous components and one of them is beef. There have been cases where children have developed an allergy to beef as a result of varicella vaccine. When this has happened, children have gone into anaphylactic shock and have required emergency treatment. Oftentimes, parents do not realize that their children have developed a beef allergy until they suffer a severe reaction. Developing an allergy and a severe reaction is viewed as a compensable side effect.
One rare but very severe side effect of varicella vaccine is that the brain can swell. This is called encephalitis and, when this happens, the brain can swell and it can lead to permanent brain damage. There are other possible brain injuries from grave complications of varicella which can include meningitis. While these are rare side effects, they are very serious and dangerous.
In some instances, the chickenpox vaccine can result in high fever. When this happens, children are vulnerable to seizures that may accompany high fever. Most of these seizures are one-time events, but some seizures can cause lasting damage.
Like any vaccination, the manner in which the injection is given can cause severe short-term or even permanent injury. When the medical professional gives the vaccine too high on the arm and directly into the deltoid capsule, it can cause something called SIRVA. This results in pain and loss of motion in the shoulder. When this occurs in children, it hampers their development and requires extensive therapy in order for the child to recover.
You Can Receive Compensation for Varicella Vaccine Injuries
Varicella is a covered vaccine for purposes of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The VICP is intended for vaccines that are given to children, although adults can also qualify for compensation if the vaccine is also given to children. Since the Varicella vaccine is primarily for children, it is a recognized vaccine and is included on the list of covered vaccines. This is different from shingles, which is an illness closely related to chickenpox, but the vaccine is given only to adults. As a result, the shingles vaccine is not a covered vaccine for purposes of the VICP.
Compensable cases of varicella injury are relatively rare, but they do exist. Over an 11-year period starting from January 2006, there have been over 110 million varicella vaccination given in the U.S. There have been a total of 60 claims for compensation filed with the VICP. While this is a relatively low proportion of overall vaccinations given, claimants have had a strong chance of success when they file a varicella compensation claim. The government has elected to settle nearly half of varicella cases. In all, 42 of the 60 varicella cases filed with the VICP have resulted in compensation for the claimant, either through settlement, decision or compensation concession. If your child has been injured by the varicella vaccine, contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates to discuss your legal options and the possibility of filing a claim for compensation.
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