While the vaccines commonly administered to children and adults in the United States are largely considered safe, like all medications and other forms of treatment, vaccines can carry certain risks. To monitor these risks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have established the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
About the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is a program that allows vaccine manufacturers, healthcare providers, vaccine recipients, their family members, and other people to report vaccine injuries. Through the program, the CDC and FDA seek to, “identify new safety concerns, and help make sure the benefits of vaccines continue to be far greater than the risks.” Specifically, VAERS is intended to:
- Discover new and rare vaccine-related illnesses and injuries
- Track trends in known vaccine injuries
- Identify risk factors associated with all types of adverse events
- Identify specific lots of vaccines that cause an unusual number of adverse events
- Assess the safety of recently-approved vaccines[f1]
Vaccine Injury Reports Are On the Rise
Since the CDC and FDA established VAERS in 1990, the program has received more than 200,000 reports of vaccine-related illnesses and injuries (what VAERS simply refers to as, “adverse events”). The majority of these are considered to be mild side effects, and VAERS reports that only “[v]ery rarely” do people experience serious adverse events from getting vaccinated. A serious adverse event is considered one that results in disability, hospitalization, a life-threatening illness or death.
However, it appears that the number of vaccine injury reports may be on the rise. Today, VAERS receives around 30,000 reports annually, and 13 percent of these reports are for serious adverse events. An increase in reports to VAERS would align with the recent increase in claims under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The number of National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program claims has increased each year since 2011, and is on pace this year to more than double the number of claims filed in 2014. It is unclear whether this reflects an increase in the number of vaccine injuries or simply greater awareness of the federal government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
How to Report a Vaccine Injury to VAERS
While it is possible for vaccine recipients and parents to file reports with VAERS directly (approximately seven percent of all reports come from patients and their families), the CDC and FDA encourage filing through your healthcare provider. This will help ensure that your report is as complete and accurate as possible.
You can access the VAERS reporting form online.
Leah Durant Represents Individuals with Vaccine Injuries Nationwide
If you or a loved one has experienced a vaccine injury, speak with your doctor about reporting the injury to VAERS and contact a vaccine injury attorney about filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is a national vaccine injury law firm that represents individuals in VICP claims nationwide. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call (202) 800-1711 or contact us online today.
Leah Durant Bio
Leah Durant represents clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the principal attorney at the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC - a vaccine litigation firm based in Washington, DC.
Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who have suffered a vaccine-related injury, adverse reaction, or even death. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.
[f1]Link to new article, “What Does it Take for a Vaccine to Receive FDA Approval?”