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2016-2017 Flu Season – Important Issues in Vaccine Safety

2016-2017 Flu Season – Important Issues in Vaccine Safety

As we head into the upcoming flu season, it is important for parents to immunize themselves and their children against the influenza virus.  Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention encourages Americans to receive flu shots each year. While not 100% effective, an annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. 

Vaccine Reactions & Injuries

Although flu and other vaccinations are generally safe, rare reactions and injuries do occur. For those who are planning on receiving the flu shot, especially the young and elderly, it is vital that they are aware of the risk and adverse reactions that can happen.  There are essentially two categories of injuries that can occur as a result of vaccination: 1) shoulder injuries caused by an incorrectly administered vaccine; and 2) “auto-immune” responses or neurological injuries: reactions within the body to the substance of the vaccination.

SIRVA (Shoulder Injury as a Result of Vaccine Administration)

shoulder vaccine shot fluThe first category involves improperly administered vaccines which can result in a shoulder injury.  SIRVA injuries (shoulder injury as a result of vaccine administration) are injuries to the musculoskeletal structures of the shoulder – ligaments, tendons, bursae – due to trauma from a needle entering the bursa and/or rotator cuff, resulting in an inflammatory response.

The injury is typically the outcome of injecting too high on the shoulder. Rather than entering the muscle tissue in the portion of the shoulder between the elbow and the joint, the needle enters the joint space, resulting in physical trauma to the shoulder.

Nerve Injuries & Allergic Reactions

The second category of injury would be a reaction to the substance of the vaccine within the body.  The nature by which vaccines function —by stimulation of the immune system—means that in rare cases, adverse events may occur following vaccination. Injuries such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Transverse Myelitis, Encephalopathy, Intussusception, ADEM, and allergic reactions can occur as a result of certain vaccinations.  If you or a loved one experience abnormal symptoms following vaccination, it is important to contact your medical professional immediately.

Compensation for a Vaccine Injury – Federal Law

Fortunately, compensation is available for those who experience an adverse reaction or injury from vaccination. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“VICP”) is a federally administered, no-fault compensation program where the vaccine-injured can seek compensation through a multi-billion-dollar government fund. Claims are filed in the Court of Federal Claims, in which only a small number of lawyers in the country are licensed to practice. These claims are different from traditional litigation because there is not a lawsuit against a particular individual or entity, rather, compensation is sought only from the government fund. The VICP pays settlements to clients along with the attorney’s fees associated with the case, which means that clients never pay any attorneys’ fees.

The attorneys at My Vaccine Lawyer are licensed to represent clients in all 50 states for vaccine injuries. Our attorneys will closely examine the facts of your case, provide a comprehensive analysis, and explain your legal options moving forward. It is important that those receiving flu shots this 2016-2017 season understand the resources available to them in case of a rare reaction. The attorneys at My Vaccine Lawyer are here to help.