What Patients Should Know About Vaccine Injections and Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis and Vaccine Administration and What You Need to KnowVaccines can be life-saving for both children and adults. However, vaccines are just as likely to cause side effects as any other medications, and these side effects can vary greatly from patient to patient. Some people report feeling tired or ill for a few days following immunization, while others may need to be hospitalized or suffer lifelong complications. One of the greatest dangers to patients is anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction to a vaccine or one of the ingredients used to create it.

What You Need to Know About Anaphylaxis After Vaccine Administration

According to an analysis of the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), anaphylaxis after vaccination is rare, occurring in one or two people per million vaccine administrations. Although it is not common, the reaction can happen within minutes and requires immediate intervention. Symptoms of anaphylaxis have been recorded anywhere from a few minutes to several hours after injection, meaning the patient was more likely to be rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment.

Here’s what patients need to know to protect themselves from these reactions:

  • Which vaccines have been linked to anaphylaxis? Causal relationships to anaphylaxis have been established in several different vaccines, including influenza, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), and varicella (chicken pox). Flu vaccines that were most frequently associated with anaphylaxis included inactivated trivalent (3-strain) influenza vaccine and inactivated monovalent (1-strain) influenza vaccine. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact risks of each vaccine, as many immunizations are administered in one appointment.
  • What else can cause vaccine-related anaphylaxis? Vaccines contain many additives other than just the active ingredient. Preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and diluents can contain compounds that cause allergic reactions and may include common food allergens such as eggs, beef, wheat, or gelatin. Patients should always be given a full list of the vaccine’s ingredients before injection.
  • What are the symptoms? Anaphylaxis usually happens quickly and involves a reaction in many different bodily systems, including respiratory problems, skin reactions, cardiovascular effects, or gastrointestinal problems. The most common symptoms include difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue, coughing or wheezing, a tightening of the throat, inability to talk, increased heart rate, or sudden collapse. Children and infants who cannot communicate may become pale or have floppy limbs, and may quickly lose consciousness.
  • How is anaphylaxis treated? The usual treatment for anaphylaxis is epinephrine, which reverses the effect of severe allergic reactions quickly. If a patient has a mild reaction that is not immediately life-threatening, he or she may be given antihistamines or corticosteroids to reverse the effects gradually.
  • How can victims get compensation after a vaccine injury? A severe reaction to a vaccine can have high costs, including increased medical care, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, and lost income. Patients who have suffered reactions to immunizations may be eligible for compensation through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a no-fault alternative to filing an injury lawsuit. Patients must submit a petition to NVICP and the organization will determine if the injury was related to one of the covered vaccines.

If your vaccine injury is not covered under the NVICP, you may have to file a claim in court to get compensation. Even a minor reaction can have long-lasting consequences and can affect a person’s ability to earn a living, go out in public, or have a normal life. Patients who made every attempt to safeguard their health and protect the lives of others through vaccination should not be forced to suffer their injuries alone.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury related to vaccine administration, the attorneys at Shannon Law Group can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today to learn more about your options and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. If you prefer, take a moment to fill out our online contact form, and you’ll receive a prompt response from one of our attorneys who can help answer your questions.

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