Like most medications, many common vaccines have several potential side effects. However, absent a personal medical condition, most vaccine side effects are relatively rare. In fact, in light of the risks associated with contracting the flu, mumps, chickenpox, tetanus and various other diseases for which vaccines are available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and most medical experts contend it is far safer to be vaccinated than to take your chances without being vaccination.
Nonetheless, vaccines still can – and do – cause injuries. Each year, thousands of individuals file claims for vaccine-related injuries under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Since few people know about the VICP, it is likely that many more individuals suffer from vaccine injuries every year. Some of the most common injuries related to vaccines are discussed in further detail below.
Common Injuries Related to Vaccines
1. Shoulder Injuries Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA)
While some vaccine-related injuries result from the body’s reaction to certain ingredients within the vaccine, in many cases, individuals suffer shoulder injuries due to errors during vaccine administration. Since these injuries relate to the administration of the vaccine (and not the vaccine itself), they are vaccine-agnostic—meaning that they can occur with all types of vaccines.
Vaccine shoulder injuries can range in severity from mild discomfort to total immobility of the arm (commonly known as “frozen shoulder”). Some of the most common forms of SIRVA are:
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Adhesive capsulitis
- Brachial neuritis
2. Guillain Barre Syndrome
Another common vaccine injury is Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). Although relatively rare, GBS has been linked to various vaccinations – including the annual flu shot. This link is now so well-established that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is considering adding GBS to the Vaccine Injury Table[f1] .
GBS is an autoimmune disease that often has dangerous symptoms, and in some cases can be fatal. The chronic form of GBS (which can also be related to vaccination) is known as Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIPD).
3. Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis
Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is another autoimmune disease that has been known to result from vaccinations, including primarily the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). ADEM is most common among children, though adults may suffer from vaccine-related ADEM as well.
4. Transverse Myelitis
Linked to the Hepatitis B, MMR and diphtheria-tetanus (TD) vaccines, transverse myelitis is an inflammatory response in the spinal cord. The symptoms of transverse myelitis include:
- Pain radiating from the neck or back
- Numbness, tingling, coldness or burning
- Muscle weakness in the arms and legs
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
While most people who contract transverse myelitis are able to make a full recovery, some individuals are left with permanent disabilities.
Anaphylaxis results from an allergic reaction to an ingredient in a vaccine. Treatment is possible, though severe reactions can be life-threatening. While anaphylactic reactions are usually quick, it is not unusual for vaccine recipients to go hours before experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis.
Have You Suffered a Vaccine-Related Injury?
If you or someone you love has experienced any of the above injuries after receiving a vaccination, you may be entitled to compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Vaccine attorney Leah Durant represents individuals in vaccine injury claims nationwide. Contact Leah Durant to find out if you have a claim and to learn how the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC can provide legal representation at no financial cost to you. Call (202) 800-1711 or request a free consultation online today.