The Truth About Vaccine Injuries
I admit that when it comes to vaccines, I have had just as many questions as most parents.
Although I have a medical background as a nurse and have actually given hundreds of vaccines, when it came time to answer the vaccination question for myself, of course I wanted to do my research.
And honestly, I don't think there's any question if vaccines work or if they, for the most part, are effective. For me, I was concerned about the possible side effects of vaccines, which we don't hear as much about in terms of specific numbers.
Obviously, anytime we take any sort of medication, there is a risk, so I wanted to know what the real numbers were. Just how many reported adverse effects from vaccines are there out there?
To my surprise, I actually found the information pretty accessible. For some reason, I had been expecting a giant government cover-up, like one big conspiracy theory.
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) allows any person at any time to report a negative reaction to a vaccine. The system outlines what qualifies as a reportable event and allows you to submit a report online. What's most important to realize is that most events must be reported as occurring within a week after the vaccination, so keep a close eye on your child if he/she is vaccinated for at least a week if you are concerned about a possible adverse reaction.
According to VAERS, it receives around 30,000 reports annually, with 13% classified as serious (e.g., associated with disability, hospitalization, life-threatening illness, or death). Claims that are found to be really from a vaccine are then brought to the compensation department, which says:
“Since the first National Vaccine Injury Compensation (VICP) claims were filed in 1989, 4,022 compensation awards have been made. More than $2.9 billion in compensation awards has been paid to petitioners, and more than $123.9 million has been paid to cover attorneys' fees and other legal costs. To date, 9,882 claims have been dismissed. Of those, 4,940 claimants were paid more than $65.7 million to cover attorneys' fees and other legal costs.”
Looking at these numbers and the fact that more than 10 million vaccines per year are given to children less than 1 year old, it would appear that reported vaccine adverse reactions really are very, very rare. And while the information about vaccine injuries and their payouts is freely accessible, I still have to wonder how many people 1) know it exists, 2) utilize the reporting system in the event of an adverse reaction, and 3) fall under the designated time frame to allow for reporting.
I may not have all the answers, but I do know that spreading the word about the VAERS — whether that results in more information about vaccine injuries or not — is a good thing, so be sure to let your fellow expecting parents know about the website, just in case.