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Leah Durant | Vaccine Attorney - Vaccine Blog

Monday, June 6, 2022

How Common are Vaccine-Related Injuries and Illnesses?

How common are vaccine-related injuries and illnesses? While there are several ways to answer this question, perhaps the most straightforward answer is that these injuries and illnesses are extremely rare in comparison to the number of vaccines administered in the United States each year. In this article, vaccine attorney Leah V. Durant discusses some key statistics and highlights the most-common vaccine-related injuries and illnesses based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

Data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is the primary tool that the CDC uses to track vaccine-related injuries and illnesses. According to the CDC, VAERS received “over 48,000” reports in 2019—the most recent year for which data are currently available.

While this is a big number, it is important to put it into perspective. Each year, doctors, pharmacists and other providers administer hundreds of millions of vaccines to children and adults in the United States. This includes close to 200 million flu shots alone. Thus, as a percentage, the number of vaccine-related injuries and illnesses in the U.S. each year is extremely small.

Additionally, the CDC notes that “[a]bout 85-90% of [VAERS] reports described mild side effects such as fever, arm soreness, or mild irritability.” This drops the number of potentially serious reported adverse events in 2019 to around 4,800. However, these potentially serious cases should not be ignored, as they may involve, “permanent disability, hospitalization, prolongation of an existing hospitalization, life-threatening illness, congenital deformity/birth defect or death.”

Data from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

In 2019, 1,282 individuals and families filed vaccine injury and illness claims under the VICP. This number dropped slightly in 2020 (the first full year of the COVID-19 pandemic), before increasing to 2,057 in 2021.

It makes sense that the number of claims filed under the VICP does not match the number of serious vaccine-related injuries and illnesses reported to VAERS. Not as many people are aware of the VICP, and both healthcare providers and patients can file VAERS reports—whereas patients and family members must personally assert their rights under the VICP. In 2019, the VICP issued 653 compensation awards for a total award amount of just over $196 million.

Most Common Vaccine-Related Injuries and Illnesses

Unsurprisingly, some of the most common vaccines in the United States—the flu shot, MMR vaccine and Tdap vaccine—also have the highest rates of vaccine-related injuries and illnesses (based on successful VICP claims filed). In recent years, the most common vaccine-related injuries by far have been shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (SIRVA). We have seen a rise in cases involving vaccine-related Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) as well. Other vaccine-related injuries and illnesses are much less common—accounting for small percentages of VAERS reports and VICP claims—but remain prevalent enough not to be ignored.

Request an Appointment with Vaccine Attorney Leah V. Durant

Vaccine attorney Leah V. Durant has helped hundreds of individuals and families recover financial compensation under the VICP. If you have questions about filing a claim for a vaccine-related injury or illness, we encourage you to call 202-800-1711 or contact us online to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

Leah Durant Bio

Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. 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.


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