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Food and Drug Administration, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (Flu GBS), National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, vaccination, Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, Vaccine News

Government Awards New Contract to Analyze Side Effects from Vaccines

The federal government recently took steps to ensure the continued monitoring of vaccine side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have awarded an $18 million contract to SRA International Inc. — an information technology consulting firm — to support the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

VAERS is a national vaccine safety surveillance program that serves as an early warning system for side effects associated with vaccines. Its primary objectives are to detect new, dangerous reactions to vaccines; monitor increases in known side effects; and assess the safety of newly licensed vaccines.

VAERS was created in 1990 as a response to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. This law required that health professionals and vaccine manufacturers report serious vaccine reactions to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Each year, the system receives around 30,000 reports. Thirteen percent are classified as serious, which includes side effects that cause hospitalization, disability, and life-threatening illnesses.

Anyone can make a report by visiting the Health and Human Services website and completing the necessary paperwork. Once filed, patients will receive a confirmation letter with an identification number. Officials will contact those who have experienced serious reactions 60 days and one year after the initial report to check on their recovery.

Under the new contract, SRA will examine the data from thousands of VAERS reports. Additionally, SRA will also conduct outreach to the public, vaccine manufactures, and immunization programs.

VAERS has already notched several successes. For example, the system discovered a possible increase in risk for Guillain-Barré Syndrome associated with Menactra, a meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Studies are already underway to further investigate this link, and healthcare providers now know not to give Menactra to patients with a history of GBS.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome is a rare autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system attacks its nerves. The symptoms usually develop slowly, with tingling and weakness in a person’s legs that eventually spreads to the upper body. GBS patients often have difficulty with basic motor skills, such as chewing, swallowing, or controlling facial movements.

Patients suffering from vaccine injuries such as GBS can also seek relief from a separate government program.

Like VAERS, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was created in response to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Since its launch in 1988, the Program has offered compensation for those who have experienced serious side effects from vaccinations. The program is funded by a 75 cent excise tax placed on every dose of covered vaccines.

For an up-to-date list of the vaccines covered by the Program, check out the vaccine injury compensation table on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website.

The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System work hand in hand to compensate those already injured by vaccines — and to prevent future vaccine injuries.

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If you have suffered from a negative shot reaction, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, shoulder pain, or any other illness subsequent to receiving a vaccination, please contact us today. Vaccine attorney Leah Durant is available to provide you with a free telephone consultation. This vaccine attorney is a seasoned litigator whose practice is dedicated to serving those injured by vaccines.

About Leah Durant

Leah Durant is a former U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney who specializes in vaccine injury claims covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. These cases are filed before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (more commonly known as the “vaccine court”) in Washington, DC, where she has been admitted to practice since 2008. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Leah Durant is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park and received her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Leah Durant’s legal practice concentrates on litigating complex vaccine injury and medical related cases. She has an extensive legal background and has experience representing individuals with complex medical claims.

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