In the last century, approximately 147,271 pertussis cases, also known as “whooping cough,” were reported each year before a vaccine was invented for it.1 Currently, just 13,214 cases happen each year because most people are vaccinated for pertussis.1
However, like other medical treatments, pertussis vaccines can cause adverse reactions and injuries for some. These situations are rare—but unfortunate when they happen. That’s why the government implemented the national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) in the 1980s; the program is a “no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions.”2
If a pertussis vaccine has injured you or your loved one, we’ve created this article to get you started on the right path to obtaining your compensation from the VICP.
Why Do We Vaccinate Against Pertussis?
You may be wondering if a pertussis vaccine was even necessary to have. The short answer is yes. Pertussis (also known as “whooping cough”) is a very serious and “highly contagious respiratory disease.”3 It’s caused by “a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis.”4 These bacteria attach to the inside of the respiratory system and “release toxins,” which cause “airways to swell.”4
Pertussis is “known for its uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe.”3 While pertussis can affect people of all ages, it is particularly deadly for “babies less than a year old.”3 In fact, since 2010, up to “20 babies die from it each year in the United States.”5
All Pertussis Vaccines Covered by the VICP
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program only provides financial compensation for victims who were vaccinated with a covered vaccine. These vaccines are listed in the Vaccine Injury Table, along with any known adverse reactions they may cause.
The following vaccines containing “whole cell pertussis bacteria, extracted or partial cell pertussis bacteria, or specific pertussis antigen(s)”: DTP, DTaP, P, and DTP-Hib.6
Table-Covered Pertussis Vaccine Injuries and Reactions
When filing a petition with the VICP, it is much easier obtain compensation if your specific reaction or injury is listed in the Vaccine Injury Table, which is updated every few years. Thus, these injuries are called “table-covered.”
For pertussis vaccines, these reactions are listed in the Vaccine Injury Table:
- First symptoms must appear no later than 4 hours after vaccine administration.
- Encephalopathy or encephalitis
- First symptoms must appear no later than 72 hours after vaccine administration.
- Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA)
- First symptoms must appear no later than 48 hours after vaccine administration.
- Vasovagal syncope
- First symptoms must appear no later than 1 hour after vaccine administration.
What if the Vaccine Injury Table Doesn’t List Your Reaction?
Sometimes, an individual will experience a reaction or injury from a pertussis vaccine that isn’t listed on the Vaccine Injury Table. If you or someone you love in this situation, you have a slight chance of getting compensation from the VICP.
Your non-table injury or reaction must fit one of these three categories in order to be eligible:
- It has lasted more than 6 months after vaccination; or
- It has resulted in “inpatient hospitalization and surgical intervention”; or
- It has resulted in death.7
Suspect a Vaccine-Related Injury? Contact an Attorney Immediately
If you suspect your injury is vaccine-related, you should contact a vaccine injury lawyer as soon as possible to find out if you are eligible to file for compensation with the VICP. One of the biggest issues petitioners face is filing by the VICP’s strict deadlines; you must file within 3 years after vaccine-related symptoms first appear and within 2 years after a vaccination death.7
At Shannon Law Group, P.C., our vaccine attorneys understand how crucial this deadline is for our clients, as well as how stressed and overwhelmed they may feel following a vaccine-related injury or death. Therefore, when you reach out to us, we always promise to help in whatever way we can.
Please call us at (312) 578-9501 or toll-free at (866) 881-9980. You can fill out our online contact form as well. One of our team members will be in touch soon. A free, no-obligation consultation is available, too.