Are you getting your flu vaccine today? We have all heard this question in one form or another from our healthcare provider. Medical professionals strongly encourage the vaccine, especially as we enter the flu season. For some, the vaccine results in a sore arm and mild irritation. But others get the flu shot and have a much more serious side effect.
Does the flu shot cause injury?
Federal administrations like the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recognize that vaccines like the flu shot can cause serious injuries. As a result, they have established a fund to compensate victims injured by the flu vaccine.
How do I get compensation to cover the cost of my injury?
Generally speaking, those who are injured by a medication file a lawsuit to hold the drug manufacturer liable for any harm that results from use of their product. Vaccines are somewhat different. The government has decided that use of vaccines warrants a separate system; a system that is supposed to result in more timely payouts to injured victims. This system is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Victims of vaccine injuries must first file a claim in the VICP for their injuries.
Does this system work?
The government pays out hundreds of millions in vaccine injury compensation every year. Examples for injuries related to the flu shot include:
- Shoulder injury, and
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Circling back to the original question, victims generally do not move forward with a civil lawsuit when injured by the flu vaccine. Instead, victims must initially seek compensation through the use of the VICP. During the process, victims are given the opportunity to opt out of the VICP, although this does not happen often with flu vaccine injuries.
Those who believe they may qualify can review the Vaccine Injury Table, a document that outlines different illness, disabilities, and injuries that the government presumes connected to a vaccination unless another cause is found. This document is constantly evolving. For example, the addition of the likelihood that the influenza vaccine can result in Guillain-Barre syndrome is relatively new.
Those who move forward with a claim file a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The filing then goes through various rounds of review before being presented to a court-appointed special master to decide whether compensation is warranted. Families can and should seek legal counsel to review their case and discuss the likelihood of approval.
Vaccine injury litigation is all the lawyers at Downing, Allison & Jorgenson do. If you or a family member have been injured by a vaccine, call us today. We are here to help.