Vaccines provide a great deal of benefit to society, and allow children to escape the suffering of potentially deadly diseases. However, some people who receive vaccines suffer adverse reactions to the injections—and the effects of these reactions can cause long-term injuries. One potential side effect of vaccination is the development of chronic arthritis, which has been linked to the rubella vaccine as well as other immunizations.
How Does Vaccination Cause Arthritis?
Researchers are unsure as to exactly why some patients are likely to suffer arthritis after vaccine injections. One theory is that live vaccines and other vaccine preparations can be molecularly similar to the disease that they protect against, causing the body to respond to the injection in the same way it would to the condition. Others suggest that people may be suffering from mild arthritis and even rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that does not show symptoms until after the vaccine is administered.
Arthritis symptoms after vaccination are often called reactive arthritis and may disappear within a few days. However, patients who continue to suffer these symptoms for weeks or longer may have developed them due to a systemic autoimmune disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, and the vaccination merely caused an initial reaction.
Common complications of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Joint pain (commonly in the fingers, hands, knees, or feet)
- Swelling, tenderness, stiffness, or redness in the joints
- Lost range of motion in the hands, wrists, hips, and knees
- Deformity in the knuckles of the fingers and toes
- Loss of the ability to bend fingers and toes
- Lost grip strength
Federal Compensation for Arthritis After Vaccination
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) offers payments to victims and families who have suffered after vaccine injection. The federal program has recognized chronic arthritis that lasts for at least seven days as a compensable injury. However, proving your vaccine injury case will depend on whether or not the injury occurred after the administration of one or more eligible vaccines.
Your child could be eligible for benefits if he or she suffered a reaction to one of the following immunizations:
- Rubella. The rubella vaccine has long been suspected to pose the potential for reactive arthritis. Over 100 cases of joint pain, soreness, and related arthritis symptoms have been reported after the administration of the rubella vaccine, many of which were only temporary.
- Hepatitis B. Several claims of arthritis have been made following hepatitis B immunization, some of which have been diagnosed as isolated inflammation of the joints and others that were symptomatic of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Flu shot. While the influenza vaccine has been connected to neurologic conditions more often than joint inflammation, it is possible that patients could develop arthritic symptoms as a result of the onset of a neurological injury.
- A combination of vaccines. Many researchers question whether administration of more than one vaccine at a time increases the likelihood of adverse side effects, particularly autoimmune disorders. If this is the case, children could be more at risk of arthritis after combination immunizations, such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccines.
- Other vaccines. Non-compulsory vaccines, such as typhoid vaccinations, have also been linked to cases of reactive arthritis. In cases of relatively new vaccines, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), there is not enough evidence to definitively conclude the risk of adverse reactions.
The NVICP was created as a way for patients to get compensation without the need to file a lawsuit. However, if your claim to NVICP is denied, your only hope of getting fair payment for your suffering is to pursue a vaccine injury case in court. We help patients nationwide get justice and compensation for their medical bills, lost income, and unnecessary suffering due to a vaccine reaction. No matter where you are, we can help you get the recognition and damages you deserve. Fill out our online contact form today to tell us your story and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys.