Vaccinations, aka vaccines, are a normal part of life for most people – if you don’t want to catch this winter’s round of the flu, for example, you go and get a flu shot. Simple, right? Well, maybe not. With child vaccination programs on the rise (many schools now require all students to be vaccinated against childhood diseases), the number of vaccine related injury claims is also increasing. Even some adults have come forward with such claims after undergoing employer-mandated or travel related vaccinations. Below, you can find five types of vaccine-based injuries, as well as a brief explanation of their origins and symptoms.
The Origin of Vaccine Injuries
In all cases, injuries related to vaccination are the result of combat between the vaccine itself and your body’s own defenses – your immune system recognizes the vaccination as a threat and attempts to fight it. In some cases, this can lead to an adverse reaction based upon the vaccine itself, while in others, the immune system may attack the person’s own bodily tissues and / or functions. Now that you know why an injury might occur, keep reading to discover five common vaccine-based injuries and a little about the symptoms of each.
Vaccines can cause mild to severe allergic reactions as the antibodies produced by your immune system attempt to fight off the modified form of the disease(s) you’re being vaccinated against, which it sees as an invader / threat. The most severe form of allergic reaction related to vaccinations is known as anaphylaxis, which is the same sort of whole-body, shock-mimicking reaction experienced by those with severe food allergies (peanuts, for instance).
Common symptoms include hives, swelling (usually of the eyes, throat, and similar soft tissues), respiratory difficulty, cardiovascular issues including blood pressure abnormalities, numbness and / or tingling in the extremities, and more. While treatment exists that will mitigate all symptoms in a short time, anaphylaxis can be fatal if left untreated, especially in cases involving the very young or the very old.
In simplest terms, an autoimmune response to a vaccine results in a person’s immune system attacking the person’s own body rather than (or sometimes in addition to) the invading agent. Symptoms of autoimmune reactions can vary widely; common symptoms include inflammation of the spinal cord, brain, and optic nerve. Multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre Syndrome are also possibilities.
Some vaccines may result in seizure activity if an autoimmune response is triggered which involves the brain. Seizures come in various types, but common symptoms include loss of neuromuscular control, loss of consciousness, slurred or incoherent speech, weakness, memory loss, and other associated issues.
In the case of young children, the adverse effects / injuries associated with vaccination can extend to developmental delays & disorders. To be succinct, such delays present as learning difficulties, including delays in the child’s age-equivalent range of motor skills, speech and cognitive abilities, social skills, and so forth. On the bright side, these delays are usually exactly that – non-permanent “slow-downs” in development rather than permanent issues.
Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, or ADEM for short, is an uncommon but extremely serious autoimune reaction which manifests itself through CNS demyelination – the stripping away of the protective sheaths which enclose every nerve in the human central nervous system. When it crops up, it is most commonly associated with the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine, with symptoms ranging from stroke-like problems (unilateral muscle weakness, altered consciousness, behavioral issues, and the like) to seizures, coma, and paralysis. These symptoms are of the rapid-onset variety, and can be either chronic or sporadic in nature.
Conclusion / Closing Thoughts
The preceding is a primer on five common vaccination-based injuries. With this guide as a reference, it should be easy to spot worrisome signs and symptoms in yourself or your loved ones, and to act accordingly.
Mark Sadaka is a vaccine injury lawyer who represents numerous clients from around the country. Sadaka’s firm has the resources and expertise necessary to successfully handle these medically complex cases. Go to Vaccine Injury Help Center if you have vaccine injury related concerns.