New vaccines are approved every year. Although vaccines go through multiple steps of testing and trials before getting approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the range of risks and side effects is not always known at the time of approval, before the vaccine has been widely used. Common side effects of vaccination include pain or swelling at the injection site, fever, or an allergic reaction. Less common risks can lead to serious complications requiring hospitalization, and it’s even possible that a vaccine could cause death.
Vaccines have played a critical role in eradicating serious childhood illnesses and life-long or life-threatening diseases. Unfounded fear of vaccines should not prevent people from getting vaccinated to save their lives or protect their health. If adverse reactions or injuries do follow a vaccination beyond what could have been expected and beyond the bounds of informed consent, it’s time to take legal action. The Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at the Durham Law Group can help you hold doctors or hospitals accountable when their negligence is the root cause of the injury. If the problem lies with the vaccine itself, we can help you pursue claims for compensation from government-funded programs.
With COVID-19 vaccines around the corner, now is a critical time in our country for vaccine safety. If you need help or want to talk to an Atlanta vaccination injury attorney about a possible vaccination injury, call Durham Law Group in Atlanta at 404-845-3434 for a free consultation.
Vaccinations are often a routine matter at the doctor’s office, and some vaccinations are available at your local pharmacy or mobile clinic. Depending on the vaccine being administered, the procedure and expected side effects can be vastly different. Vaccinations are invasive procedures; the doctor or nurse is inserting a needle into your body. In a busy doctor’s office or clinic, the last thing you want is for the vaccination to be administered hastily and perhaps negligently. Negligent vaccination could cause undue pain and serious complications. Examples of negligent vaccination practices that could cause severe harm include:
It usually takes years to get a vaccine approved by the FDA. COVID-19 vaccines are being approved after less than a year of development. We are in a global pandemic, and this national health emergency has forced vaccine developments to proceed much more swiftly than usual. Although proposed COVID-19 vaccines are being tested for both safety and efficacy, they likely are not receiving the same number or duration of tests and trials a new vaccine normally undergoes.
When a vaccine itself causes significant injury beyond the normal side effects, injured patients can apply for compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). To succeed on a VICP claim, the patient must prove a sustained covered injury within three years from the first symptom or significant aggravation. If the vaccine allegedly caused death, the claim must be brought within two years of death and within four years from the first symptom or significant aggravation. These timeframes do have some exceptions, so call a lawyer before deciding you don’t have a timely claim.
Compensation through the VICP can include payment for actual medical expenses, lost earnings, attorney’s fees for helping you with your claim, and up to $250,000 in damages for pain and suffering or wrongful death.
In exchange for receiving compensation through this no-fault system, pharmaceutical companies are immune from lawsuits, except in cases where you can prove willful misconduct on the part of the manufacturer. However, getting compensation through the VICP is not as easy as filling out a form. The agency in charge makes it quite difficult to succeed on a claim, so getting professional assistance is recommended.
VICP only covers certain vaccines, including most childhood vaccines. A COVID-19 vaccine would not be part of VICP. However, the government has also created the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program to compensate people injured by vaccines or other countermeasures administered during a public health emergency. This program would cover an injury from a COVID-19 vaccine. The process for applying to this program is similar to filing a VICP claim.
The majority of vaccines are approved through a fast-track process using surrogate markers of effectiveness and a surrogate outcome of immune system response, instead of basing the vaccine’s effectiveness on how it responds to an actual incidence of disease. Negative outcomes of a vaccine are only truly known after the vaccine has been approved and widely used, through reports of side effects and injuries to the FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Just because a new vaccine has been approved by the FDA, it might not be as safe as you think it is.
If you believe you have suffered harm from a vaccination, including a COVID-19 vaccine, call the Atlanta vaccination injury attorneys of Durham Law Group at 404-845-3434. Your initial consultation is free, and we won’t charge you any fee until after we have recovered compensation for you.