Who’s at Risk for Vaccine Injury? 5 Kinds of People Who Are at an Increased Vaccine Injury Risk


Vaccine complications have profound consequences for those who experience them. Though many never develop side effects from receiving vaccines, there are certain risk factors that make some people more susceptible to complications. It is best to know before a vaccination who may be at greater risk of complications. Those who fall into the higher risk category should consult with a physician about their options for vaccinations and whether they should receive them. Bear in mind that most vaccines will introduce a live or attenuated form of a virus into the body. Here are some categories of people who are at risk for developing side effects from vaccinations and should consider their options before receiving the vaccine.


Many vaccinations are given to infants at a very young age. Some vaccines will be given for the first time when the infant is only several months old. The flip side of this is that the infant’s possible allergies may not be known. Their bodies are young and susceptible to possible illness so there may be a greater chance of possible complications from a vaccine. Many times, parents will not know that their infant is susceptible to side effects until they experience them after vaccination. Children may also be more likely to have mild illnesses that are undetected which is a risk factor for those who are receiving vaccinations.

Those with Allergies

One of the most dangerous complications of vaccinations is anaphylactic shock that results from an allergic reaction. While very rare, this is one of the few ways that a vaccination can cause death. Vaccinations contain certain stabilizers and fillers that preserve the vaccine and make it more able to be injected. The downside to this is that some people may be allergic to the content of the vaccine. In addition, those who have allergies to eggs are also more susceptible to suffering a reaction from a vaccination. Finally, some may have a latex allergy that can cause complications, even if the patient is not allergic to the vaccine itself. Those with allergies may have a predisposition to suffering side effects. Many patients will know their allergies before receiving a possible vaccination, although some may find out for the first time that they have an allergy when they suffer a complication from a vaccination.

People with Compromised Immune Systems

As mentioned above, when patients receive a vaccination, they have viruses introduced into their bodies. While this is meant to build up antibodies and resistance to the virus, there may still be a risk for those with weakened immune systems. Those who have recently been ill or have certain diseases that impact the immune system may be at risk for side effects. For example, Guillan-Barre Syndrome strikes those who have previously had infections. The combination of vaccination and a recent illness may raise the risk for Guillan-Barre Syndrome. For example, if a patient has recently had a cold, they should consider delaying their vaccination.

The Elderly

There is a dilemma when it comes to the elderly and vaccines. It is the elderly who likely need flu vaccinations the most, but they also have a much higher chance of developing complications. When it comes to soreness and conditions such as SIRVA, older bodies are more at risk in receiving injections. Elderly bodies also have a higher chance of other complications since their bodies and immune systems may already be weakened. Seniors should consult with their physicians or a pharmacist before they receive a vaccination so they can know their risk factors. Age will typically change an immune system which may affect the efficacy of a vaccine and increase the risk of a side effect.

Those Who Have Suffered Side Effects

One who has a proclivity to suffering vaccination side effects are at risk for a recurrence of these complications with subsequent vaccinations. One bad reaction is a sign that there may be an underlying problem that causes a patient to suffer side effects. While those who have experienced complications should not necessarily never have a vaccination again, they should do so after consultation with a physician. There should at least be some effort to figure out whether there is an underlying reason why there was a complication or if it was just a one-time occurrence. If a patient has had one or more severe reactions to the flu shot, they should not receive that vaccination in the future.

Another category of patients who may be at risk for side effects is those who select the wrong place to receive a vaccination. While a patient will not know ahead of time that the person administering the vaccine is not trained, the wrong person giving the injection can make a mistake that can have lasting consequences in the form of shoulder injury, known as SIRVA. If the vaccine is administered in the wrong location on the upper arm, it can lead to painful complications.

Those with higher risk factors should exercise caution when it comes to vaccinations. At the very minimum, patients should know their risks before they receive the vaccine. The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates has handled hundreds of vaccine injury cases. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a vaccination, contact our attorneys for a free evaluation of your case.

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