We live in a dirty world, where we are constantly exposed to bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses and chemicals that can make us sick.
When any one of these foreign substances (scientifically called “antigens”) enters our bloodstream, our immune system produces a protein known as an antibody to fight the infection. The next time we are exposed to that same antigen, the antibodies are already in us and keep us from getting sick again. In response to massive public health crises that killed millions of people while leaving others with debilitating injuries, scientists developed ways to prevent people from catching diseases in the first place – by creating vaccines that contain a weakened form of the antigen so that it is not able to cause disease but still can prod the body to make antibodies.
While disease antigen is the core of all vaccines, since it is the part that produces immunity, many vaccines contain other substances as well, such as adjuvants, preservatives, saline and yeast. The only disease that vaccines have successfully wiped out is smallpox, although polio, measles, rubella and chickenpox might be eliminated if vaccination rates become high enough. While some vaccines offer lifelong protection, others require boosters later in life. Behind the push to vaccinate is an idea known as “herd immunity.”
Every person who is successfully vaccinated reduces the potential sources of infection, thus reducing the risk to unvaccinated people and slowing the spread of the virus. To maintain herd immunity over time, the youngest members of the community need to be vaccinated at a high rate. Because vaccines protect the person who is vaccinated as well as the people around them, school immunization laws are imposed by all 50 states. Medical and religious exemptions exist, but are not often granted. In Georgia, children attending a school or childcare facility are required by law to be protected from:
- Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Meningococcal disease
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Pneumococcal disease
- Rubella (German measles)
- Tetanus (lockjaw) and
- Varicella (chickenpox).
But all this protection comes at a price. As pharmaceutical products, vaccines carry a risk of injury or death that can be greater for some people than for others. In response, the federal government created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to award compensation to individuals who suffer injuries (or their estates, in the event of death) caused by vaccinations. Under this no-fault program, claims are heard by a “special master” who acts in place of a judge.
A lawyer from the Department of Justice defends the case as the representative of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If the special master finds the injuries were caused by the vaccination, compensation is awarded for the injured person’s past and future medical needs, future lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering. Since 1988, over 16,038 claims have been filed with the VICP and approximately $3.18 billion has been paid. The VICP covers injuries resulting from administration of any of the following vaccines, whether administered to children or adults:
- Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis or any combination of Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoid, and Pertussis (whooping cough) antigen-containing vaccines (example: DTP, DTaP, P, DTP-Hib)
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (otitis media) polysaccharide-conjugate vaccines (Hib)
- Hepatitis A vaccines (Hep A)
- Hepatitis B vaccines (Hep B)
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines
- Measles virus-containing vaccines, alone, or in combination with other vaccines (example: MMR, MR, M)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella or any combination of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (German measles) virus-containing vaccines (example: MMR, MR, R)
- Pneumococcal (pneumonia) conjugate vaccines
- Polio inactivated virus-containing vaccines (IPV)
- Polio live-virus-containing vaccines (OPV)
- Rotavirus vaccines containing live, oral, rhesus-based rotavirus
- Rubella virus-containing vaccines, alone, or in combination with other vaccines (example: MMR, MR, R)
- Tetanus Toxoid, alone, or in combination with other vaccines (example: TT, Td)
- Trivalent (adult flu) influenza vaccines
- Varicella (chickenpox) vaccines.
Furthermore, whether you are compensated or not, all legal fees for your representation in the VICP are paid by the Vaccine Program. The VICP has very strict filing deadlines that must be met. If you have seen a change in your child’s mental or physical development after a vaccination, or have suffered a vaccine injury, you have nothing to lose by contacting the GA vaccine injury attorneys at the Mann Law Firm.
Get started today with a free, no-obligation case review by calling (478) 742-3381. You can also fill out our online form to discuss the details of your situation. We represent clients throughout the state of Georgia, including the communities of Macon, Dublin, Warner Robins, and Milledgeville. Let us help you.
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