Today, vaccines play an important role in our health by protecting us from serious and sometimes deadly diseases. Vaccines are made from very small amounts of weak or dead germs that can cause diseases and once you receive a vaccination, your body is prepared to fight off the disease and most people will then have an immunity against the disease. In the United States, vaccines are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER).
While vaccines are designed to protect us from disease, like any other medical intervention, receiving a vaccination is not risk free. Common side effects of receiving vaccinations include redness, swelling or soreness at the injection site. Some vaccines also cause rash, fever and body aches. In certain rare cases, risks of vaccinations can even include a life-threatening allergic reaction, seizure or death. The FDA and CDC co-sponsor The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national vaccine safety surveillance program and VAERS collects and analyzes information from reports of side effects that occur after a US licensed vaccination.
Vaccines and vaccine injuries have been a controversial topic in the United States. In fact, in the 1980’s, The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VCIP) was created in response to lawsuits that were brought against various vaccine companies and health care providers. These lawsuits threatened the possibility of vaccine shortages and reduced vaccination rates, which would potentially then cause a resurgence of preventable diseases that vaccines were designed to protect against.
The VCIP recognizes that vaccines save lives by preventing diseases and that most people who get vaccines do not have serious problems but it also recognizes that in rare cases, a vaccine does cause serious problems and will compensate individuals who are injured by a VCIP-covered vaccine.
In 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on a vaccine injury case in favor of protecting pharmaceutical companies from certain liabilities. In this case, parents argued that a vaccine manufacturer was responsible for their daughter’s injuries because the manufacturer had defectively designed the vaccine. The majority of the Supreme Court ruled that a defective design claim is barred by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and that the pharmaceutical company was not liable for the injuries caused in this case. This ruling indicated that all side effects would not be subject to liability claims so long as “there was proper manufacture and warning.”
In light of this Supreme Court ruling, families of individuals who have suffered a vaccine injury will need to continue to turn to the VCIP, the no-fault alternative system in order to resolve vaccine injury claims instead of the traditional legal system.
In order to file a claim with the VCIP, an individual must file a petition with the US Court of Federal Claims and the US Department of Health and Human Services medical staff will review the petition and make a preliminary recommendation. The US Department of Justice then develops a report that includes the preliminary recommendation and will submit it to the Court. A court-appointed special master will decide whether an individual will be compensated and if compensation is awarded, the special master will determine the amount and type of compensation. The US Department of Health and Human Services will award any compensation.
You can contact the Vaccine Injury Attorneys at the Law Offices of Sadaka Associates to get help navigating through this process during your time of need.
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The first step in helping yourself or a loved one after a serious vaccine related injury is to contact us for a free review of your case.