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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Flu Vaccine, Food and Drug Administration, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (Flu GBS)

What Vaccines are Available for the Flu? Are There Any Risks?

Vaccine Lawyer Leah Durant explains the common side effects and injuries associated with annual flu vaccines.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of all children age six months to 17 years have been vaccinated for the flu in the past 12 months. The rate of vaccination drops to less than a third for adults ages 18 to 49, before climbing to back to near half of older adults and a full 70 percent of senior citizens.

While the CDC recommends that everyone age six months or older receive the flu vaccine each year, the effectiveness of these vaccines depends on a wide variety of factors. For the 2014-2015 flu season, the CDC estimated that vaccination reduced individuals’ chances of getting sick with the flu by just 23 percent.

What Flu Vaccines are Available?

Each year, scientists around the world make their best guesses about the flu strains that are most likely to be prevalent during the upcoming flu season. Based on their recommendations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) selects the flu vaccines to be administered to children and adults nationwide. There are numerous different flu vaccines that each target different strains of the virus, so selecting the right vaccination is critical to ensuring the public stays healthy that season.

The vaccines that the FDA has approved for various strains of the influenza virus include:

  • Afluria (IIV3)
  • Agriflu (IIV3)
  • Fluarix (IIV3 and IIV4)
  • Flublok (RIV3)
  • Flucelvax (ccIIV3)
  • FluLaval (IIV3 and IIV4)
  • FluMist (LAIV4)
  • Fluvirin (IIV3)
  • Fluzone (IIV3 and IIV4)
  • Fluzone High-Dose (IIV3)
  • Fluzone Intradermal (IIV3)

Common Flu Vaccine Side Effects

With so many flu vaccines available, individuals who get themselves and their children immunized need to be careful about the risks and side effects associated with the drugs used to fight the flu each year. Some of the most common side effects of flu vaccines include:

  • Soreness and swelling at the injection side (for flu shots)
  • Wheezing and runny nose (for nasal sprays)
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

In addition to these side effects, a small number of people who receive the flu shot may experience severe adverse reactions known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) and/or shoulder pain, frozen shoulder, or reduced range of motion related to the administration of the vaccine. Guillain-Barre Syndrome can lead to muscle weakness, paralysis and even death, while individuals suffering from frozen shoulder, or brachial neuritis often require extensive treatment and rehabilitative therapy. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to reverse the effects.

What to Do if You Experience Vaccine Side Effects or a Vaccine Injury

Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), individuals who suffer side effects and complications after receiving a flu vaccine can seek compensation from the federal government. As long as you meet certain minimum qualifications, you can file for – and receive – money to cover your medical bills and other losses.

However, following the government’s procedures isn’t easy, and the VICP will cover the cost of your legal representation separate from your own financial recovery, so hiring a qualified vaccine lawyer to navigate this complicated legal process is advised.

Contact Attorney Leah Durant To Discuss Your Flu Vaccine Injury Today

The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is a national law firm that provides legal representation for victims of flu vaccine injuries. To find out if you are entitled to compensation, please call (202) 800-1711 or contact us online today.

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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