Before tetanus vaccines were invented, approximately 1,314 tetanus cases were documented annually.2 Now that most people are immunized with a tetanus shot, only 18 cases are reported annually.2 Just like medications, tetanus vaccines can cause severe side effects in some people.
In these rare situations, victims are eligible to file a petition with the national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. At Shannon Law Group, P.C., we have created this article to help you move forward with your tetanus vaccine injury claim.
Why Vaccinate for Tetanus?
The simple answer is to protect you or someone you love from contracting tetanus, “an infection caused by a bacterium called Clostridium tentani.”3 The “[s]pores of tetanus bacteria are everywhere in the environment, including soil, dust, and manure.”3 These spores can enter the body through broken skin, “usually through injuries from contaminated objects.”3
Tetanus is a very serious disease with severe side effects. It is often called “lockjaw” because one of the most common signs is “tightening of the jaw muscles.”4 In fact, 1 or 2 in 10 tetanus cases are fatal due to difficulty breathing from muscle stiffness.4
Types of Tetanus Vaccines Covered by VICP Table
In the 1980s, the government created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which is “a no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions.”5 This program offers “financial compensation to individuals who file a petition and are found to have been injured by a VICP-covered vaccine.”5
Covered vaccines are listed in the Vaccine Injury Table, which was last updated in March 2017. The following types of vaccines “containing tetanus toxoid” are VICP-covered: DTaP, DTP, DT, Td, or TT.1
Table-Covered Reactions and Injuries for Tetanus Vaccines
When filing a petition with the VICP, it is easier to obtain compensation for your tetanus vaccine reaction or injury if it is listed in the Vaccine Injury Table. As such, these reactions are called “table-covered” vaccine injuries. The following reactions are table-covered:
- First symptoms must appear no more than 4 hours after vaccine administration.1
- Brachial Neuritis
- First symptoms must appear between 2-28 days after vaccine administration.1
- Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA)
- First symptoms must appear no more than 48 hours after vaccine administration.1
- Vasovagal Syncope
- First symptoms must appear no more than 1 hour after vaccine administration.1
What about Reactions Not Covered by the Vaccine Injury Table?
In some cases, you or someone you love may experience a different reaction or injury following a tetanus vaccination that is not covered on the Vaccine Injury Table. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get compensated for these injuries—but not impossible.
Your non-table vaccine reaction must fall into three categories in order to be eligible for compensation from the VICP:
- 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.6
If You Suspect a Vaccine-Related Injury, Contact an Attorney Immediately
If you suspect your injury is vaccine-related, you should contact a vaccine injury attorney as soon as possible. The window for filing a petition with the VICP is very narrow: 3 years after vaccine-related symptoms first appear or 2 years after a death from vaccination.6 Therefore, it is very important to seek legal help before it is too late for you to receive compensation.
At Shannon Law Group, P.C., our attorneys understand the urgency of your unique situation, as well as the confusion and stress you may be feeling. When you reach out to us, we promise to help you in whatever way we can. Please call us at (312) 578-9501 or toll-free at (866) 881-9980. You can also fill out our online contact form. One of our team members will be in touch as soon as possible. A free, no-obligation consultation is available as well.