When most people get a vaccine, they rarely give it a second thought. However, as more vaccines have been developed by researchers over the years, there have been instances where a person receiving a vaccine has become ill soon afterwards. Because of the many problems that can result in these situations, more and more petitions for compensation have been filed by victims, resulting in an interesting array of statistics regarding injuries, cases, and compensation.
According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, the United States has the safest vaccine supply in the world. Based on statistics, the vast majority of vaccines given to individuals produce no side effects, or at worst very mild ones. However, there have been problems associated with a number of common vaccines, such as the flu vaccine. Based on HRSA data, over a 30-year period from October 1988-January 2018, more than 4,000 people filed claims for vaccine injuries involving the flu vaccine through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Of those 4,000 filings, 197 were for fatal injuries. And while the vaccine is considered to be very safe overall, the number of claims being made is actually at an all-time high. To date, 339 claims have been filed by victims who received flu vaccines in 2018, which is a 13-year high for the number of claims filed.
More commonly known as the vaccines given for diptheria, tetanus, and Pertussis, DTaP vaccines have actually seen more claims filed for fatal injuries that the flu vaccine over the same period of time. For example, while 197 claims were filed for fatal injuries associated with the flu vaccine, 696 claims were filed by victim’s families for fatal injuries thought to be linked to the DTaP vaccines. In addition to these claims, many more claims have been filed for non-fatal injuries as well. With most victims, the common non-fatal injuries involve a variety of conditions, including high fever, brain damage, onset of Type 1 Diabetes, seizures, and shoulder injuries, such as rotator cuff tears or sharp, constant pain at the injection site. Of those who have filed claims, HRSA data states 36 percent of victims receive compensation.
The MMR vaccine, which stands for measles, mumps, and rubella, has also been known to produce a variety of serious side effects, and in some cases lead to death. According to the National Vaccine Information Center, encephalitis, diabetes, and bronchial spasms have been reported by those receiving the vaccine. As of March 31, 2018, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System noted there had been 445 deaths linked to this vaccine since its inception, along with 6,196 hospitalizations and 1,657 victims that were left with various disabilities. Of all injuries, 60 percent occurred in children who were three years of age or younger.
With so many people choosing to file claims through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the amount of compensation paid out has now reached nearly $4 billion since 1988. However, despite the statistics showing the U.S. to have the safest vaccine supply in the world, more and more victims are gaining compensation for their injuries. According to data from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Center, the average award to a victim of a vaccine injury is $593,566. However, the award is usually paid out as an annuity over the lifetime of the victim, rather than as a lump-sum payment. While there are no limits to the awards that may be given to a victim, an award to an estate of a vaccine injury victim is limited to no more than $250,000.
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