How To Report A Vaccine Injury

How To Report A Vaccine Injury

If you suspect that you may be suffering from a vaccine injury, you should report it to the U.S. Government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

VAERS is a program that has been developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to track vaccine-related injuries

What is VAERS

Holding Injection

VAERS is a national early warning system to identify potential safety problems with U.S. licensed vaccines.

VAERS allows individuals to report any adverse effects they receive after getting a vaccination. It then analyzes adverse event reports.

VAERS is not able to state categorically whether a certain vaccine caused an adverse event.

However, it can identify unusual patterns of reaction to a vaccine that indicate possible safety concerns warranting a closer look. 

VAERS was established in 1990. It has received more than two hundred thousand reports since then. The majority of the reports describe mild fever. VAERS data are monitored to:

  • Detect new, unusual, or rare vaccine adverse events 
  • Monitor increases in known adverse events
  • Identify potential patient risk factors for particular types of adverse events 
  • Identify vaccine lots with increased numbers or types of reported adverse events 
  • Assess the safety of newly licensed vaccines

The majority of reports that are received by VAERS are actually sent in by vaccine manufacturers and health care providers.

The balance of the reports is provided by state immunization programs, vaccine recipients and other sources. 

Why Should I Report to VAERS? 

Man Touching Tablet

When you submit a VAERS report it is added to the VAERS database.

The CDC and FDA use information from VAERS to make sure that the safest strategies are used to reduce the risks associated with vaccines. 

VAERS relies on members of the public to voluntarily submit reports through the VAERS website.

Each report is added to a database that helps VAERS to create a wealth of information regarding the possible ill effects of licensed US vaccines.

When people report accurate, timely and complete information about their vaccine injury, vaccine safety monitoring and research are greatly benefitted.

VAERS complies with all US Government security standards and protections with regard to health information. As a result, your patient confidentially will be maintained at all times. 

Are Doctors Required To Report Vaccine Injuries?

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) requires health-care providers to report:    

  • Any adverse event listed by the vaccine manufacturer as a contraindication to further doses of the vaccine.
  • Any adverse event listed in the VAERS Table of Reportable Events Following Vaccination that occurs within the specified time period after vaccination.

How To Report A VAERS Injury

Reporting a Vaccine injury to VAERS requires the following steps:

Step One: Call Your Doctor

Doctor Talking On Telephone

You should report your vaccine injury to your doctor straight away. Your injury may require immediate medical attention.

If you delay in reporting it, your risk of serious injury is increased. Even if you are not sure whether the injury was caused by the vaccine, you should still report it to your doctor and make a VAERS report. 

Step Two: Report To VAERS

After contacting your doctor, you need to report the injury to VAERS. This will require filling out a form. Before you make contact, you should write out a list of all your symptoms.

Be sure to include every negative impact that could be directly or indirectly related to the vaccine, including headaches, nausea, and tingling of the extremities. 

Once you have made a list of your symptoms, go to the VAERS website and click on the Report an Adverse Event link. Complete the report, providing as much detail as you can. 

Once your report is complete you will receive aa VAERS identification number. You can use your VAERS identification to retrieve a copy of your report from the CDC Wonder website.

Step Three; Keep VAERS Updated On The Injury

VAERS Illustration

VAERS may contact you or your doctor for follow up information. This may include requesting your medical documents.

You should follow through on any information requests promptly to allow VAERS to fully investigate the issue.

Make sure that you include your VAERS identification number on all communications with VAERS.

You may also make a VAERS report on paper. You can obtain pre-addressed postage-paid report forms via fax, mail, or e-mail by calling the VAERS Information Line at (800) 822-  7967.   

Completed paper VAERS forms may be sent via fax to (877) 721-  0366 or by mail to:    

VAERS  

PO Box 1100  

Rockville, MD 20849

Vaccine Injury FAQ

How Are VAERS Reports Followed Up?

Pen On Document

Selected VAERS reports are followed upon to provide a more complete picture of vaccine/injury events.

VAERS staff may contact the person who made the report or their doctor to request further information.

The selected reports are followed up by a team of health care professionals. This may include medical records.

There is no obligation for either VAERS staff of your doctor to obtain your written consent before your medical records are released. 

Do You Need A Lawyer To Make A VAERS Report?

No, you do not need a lawyer to make a VEARS report. However, if you have suffered a vaccine injury, you may be eligible for compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

To do so, you need to file a petition with the United States Court of Federal Claims. This is a legal document that begins the litigation program before the courts.

It is highly recommended that you obtain the services of a qualified vaccine attorney. The cost of hiring a vaccine attorney is met by the court, so there is no charge to the claimant.

In order to receive coverage under the VICP, you must first have received a vaccine that is covered by the program.

The program does cover some adult vaccines but the majority of them are vaccines for children and infants.

The VICP has a Vaccine Injury Table which lists the injuries and reactions that are associated with each vaccine.

If the injury that you are suffering is not listed on the table, then you will be required to prove a causal link between the vaccine and the injury. 

If the evidence shows that you are entitled to compensation, government attorneys will be willing to provide you with a fair settlement.

However, VICP will not pay the fees of petitioners representing themselves but will pay their legal costs, whether or not the claim is paid, as long as certain minimum requirements are met.

What Is The Vaccine Injury Table?

HRSA Vaccine Injury Table

A vaccine injury table is a tool used by both VAERS and VICP. The table list explains the injuries and conditions that are presumed to be caused by vaccines.

It also lists time periods in which the first symptoms of the injury or condition must occur after receiving the vaccine.

If the first symptom of the injury or conditions occurs within the listed time frame, it is presumed that the vaccine was the cause of the injury or condition unless another cause is identified. 

If a person’s injury or condition is not listed on the vaccine injury table, the claimant must prove that the vaccine caused the injury or condition in order to succeed in a claim to VICP.

This proof must be based upon medical records o expert opinion. 

Are All Adverse Events Reported To VAERS Caused By Vaccines?

No, not all adverse events reported to VAERS are caused by vaccines. Some adverse events happen after vaccination, while others may be caused by the vaccine itself.

The VAERS team of health professionals will examine each case to make a determination as to whether there was a causal link between the vaccine and the adverse effect. 

Just because an adverse effect happens after a vaccine, it doesn’t mean that there is a causal link between them.

To make that determination, a person’s medical history will be taken into account, along with the other medication that the person may be taking.

Many of the adverse events reported to VAERS end being deemed as not caused by a vaccine. 

Does VAERS Provide Medical Advice?

Doctor Talking With Patient

No, VAERS does not provide medical advice. You should consult with your doctor to discuss the specifics of your case.

VAERS also does not provide general vaccine advice. Their sole job is to collect and analyze adverse effects from vaccines.

For general information about vaccine safety, you should visit the Center for Disease Control’s Vaccines and Immunization website

Is VAERS Linked To The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)? 

No, VAERS is not linked to VICP.

VICP compensates people whose injuries may have been caused by vaccines recommended by CDC for routine use in children and is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Some people have held the belief that filing a report with VAERS automatically files a claim with VICP, but this is not the case. 

Is There A Compensation Program For Individuals Who Are Injured By The H1n1vaccine?

H1N1 Vaccine

Yes, there is a government-sponsored compensation program for people who are injured by the H1N1 vaccine.

The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) is an unrelated Federal government program directed to compensate people who have been seriously injured by countermeasures covered, such as H1N1 influenza, smallpox, and anthrax vaccines.

The program operates under-declarations issued by the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Information on the CICP  can be obtained by visiting their website at http://www.hrsa.gov/cicp/ or calling (855) 266-2427 (855-266-CICP).

Reporting an adverse event to VAERS does not automatically file a claim for compensation under the CICP. 

What Government do Agencies Oversee VAERS?

VAERS is a US nationwide passive reporting system that is co-managed by the CDC and the FDA agencies of the US Department of Health and Human Sevices.

Conclusion

In order for us all to feel safe about taking a vaccine, it is important that we play our part in the reporting and investigation process.

Reporting on the VAERS website allows us to do that. The VAERS website allows for a very easy way for anyone to submit a report on any adverse injury they receive from a vaccine.

But the system is only as good as the willingness of each person to make the effort to follow through. Let’s all do our part to make things safer for everyone.

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