One of the most highly debated topics among mothers of young children is vaccines and whether they are safe. Most medical experts will point to vaccines being responsible for a huge decrease in and even elimination of some illnesses, such as chicken pox, mumps, measles, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough and rubella. These illnesses, which used to sicken and kill many children in the U.S. each year, are now being largely prevented through vaccines. Many illnesses are largely a relic of the past. Medical experts argue that numerous studies have been performed that show that vaccines are safe. Because of the anti-vaccination crowd, they argue, diseases which were almost completely eradicated in the U.S., such as measles, are now making a comeback.

However, the anti-vaccine lobby can be just as vocal about their mistrust of vaccines. They argue that vaccines do not work, that they are dangerous, and that mandatory vaccinations violate individual rights or religious principles. They point out that very young infants are now getting many vaccinations on a regular basis. Some distrust the federal government or the pharmaceutical companies who oversee and manufacture the vaccines. Some anti-vaccination advocates point to the drastic increase in autism as a side-effect of too many vaccinations given to new born infants. Several celebrities have joined the anti-vaccination movement.

Regardless of what side of the vaccine debate you fall on, it’s undeniable that a small portion of the population encounters side effects from various vaccines. Those side effects range in severity from very mild to extremely serious and even deadly. In 2010, a 20 year old Pennsylvania woman went to a doctor’s office for a flu shot, which was required for work. A week later, she began having flu-like symptoms. Two weeks later, she had pain and weakness in her limbs and was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre syndrome, a neurological condition that is a rare side effect of the flu vaccine. She is now paralyzed and unable to feed herself.

The woman hired an attorney, who negotiated a settlement with the federal government’s National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The program was created 25 years ago by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and it pays damages to people injured by certain vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, the HPV vaccine, and the MMR vaccine. The program is funded by a 75 cent tax on every vaccine, which goes into a compensation fund. Thousands of claims have been filed with the program, and $2.44 billion has been paid to victims. The injured woman from Pennsylvania received an $11.6 million settlement, which is one of the largest payments recorded. The money will go to her treatment at a rehab clinic, plus she got $1 million for her pain and suffering and lost earnings.

It’s tragic when a person is injured because they were taking steps, such as getting a vaccine, to try to stay healthy. Although vaccines have helped keep untold numbers of people from getting very sick or dying, they do have risks. Certain people may have a negative reaction to a vaccine. Fortunately, help is available. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program can compensate those who are injured by vaccines. In some cases, the drug company can be sued as well. However, that is becoming more difficult to do in recent years with court rulings and federal laws that have granted drug companies immunity in certain cases.

If you have been injured by a vaccine, the best first step is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney about your options. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that drug companies who make millions and billions in profits by selling vaccines should not be able to escape liability when a vaccine harms someone. Call San Francisco personal injury attorney Micha Star Liberty today at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000 to learn about your legal rights. She will be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

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