Vaccines in the U.S. have an enviable safety record. However, no medical procedure is 100% safe. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established by Congress to help people who suffer adverse health effects from vaccines.
The Department of Health and Human Services provides a Vaccine Injury Table, which lists conditions that are presumed to be caused by the vaccine. This streamlines the compensation procedure for individuals who experience these problems. Analphylaxis or anaphylactic shock is included for the vaccines for tetanus, pertussis, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), polio (inactivated virus), and hepatitis B. Other conditions in the Vaccine Injury Table are:
1.Brachial neuritis from tetanus vaccines
2.Encephalopathy from pertussis or measles, mumps and rubella vaccines
3.Chronic arthritis from rubella vaccine
4.Thrombocytopenic purpura from measles vaccine
5.Paralytic polio from polio live virus vaccine
The table also specifies the time period between the vaccine and the onset of symptoms. If you have a claim for a condition not listed in the Vaccine Injury Table, you need to provide medical evidence that your condition was caused by the vaccine. Compensation has been awarded for other injuries, including scars, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. In all cases, you must have medical records or a statement from a physician as evidence that the vaccine caused the injury. Medical records are considered stronger evidence than testimony from doctors who were not involved in treatment.
An on-going issue in vaccine safety is Guillian-Barre Syndrome (GBS) from influenza vaccines. This condition was identified in approximately 1 per 100,000 recipients of the 1976 swine flu vaccine. For current flu vaccines, the incidence of GBS may be 1 to 2 cases per million vaccine recipients, based on studies that show an association (other studies show no association).
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is an issue of emerging concern. So far 9 petitions have been filed in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, including one for death. None of these cases has finished the adjudication process yet.