The Widespread Flu Epidemic of 2017-18, the Flu Shot and Flu Vaccine Injuries

March 19, 2018 | Crandall & Pera Law
The Widespread Flu Epidemic of 2017-18, the Flu Shot and Flu Vaccine Injuries

The 2017-2018 flu season has been the worst in almost a decade and it is finally beginning to taper off. Flu season, as the fall and winter months are often called, usually begins in late October, peaks between December and February, and can linger into May, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC publishes a weekly influenza report, and as of the third week in February, while the influenza virus continues to be predominant, the number of cases testing positive for flu began to decline for the first time since October 2017. The CDC has also published a frequently-asked questions page about this particularly virulent flu season. There have been 114 pediatric deaths from flu since October, the number of regions reporting widespread flu activity is 49 of 54, and a cumulative rate of 81.7% laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported. (CDC) A story in the New York Times reported that people over age 65 are the most likely to be hospitalized for flu, but those between the ages of 50-64 are the next highest age cohort for hospitalizations from the flu.

Flu season tracking for Kentucky and Ohio

The Ohio Department of Health tracks seasonal flu activity weekly throughout the year. The ODH website has data for weekly flu activity that goes back to 2012. Kentucky also tracks weekly flu activity, and they have a frequently-asked question section on their site with information about the flu, what to do if you think you or your children are infected, and who should get the flu vaccine.

Flu shot injuries

Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. said in a story in Time Magazine, "The most important thing parents can do to protect their children is to make sure they get vaccinated every flu season. It's not perfect and it's not 100% effective, but it's the best thing we have, and the flu vaccine is one of the safest, most vetted and most studied vaccinations there is." Despite the purported safety of the flu vaccine, every year the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) settles cases for individuals who have been injured and for the loved ones of people who have died from vaccine injuries. The Department of Justice publishes a quarterly report on vaccine injuries and deaths. In the December 2017 report, there were 85 cases listed. Of those 85 cases, 71 were injuries from the flu vaccine with the most common injury being SIRVA (shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration) and GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome). SIRVA is believed to be caused by an immune response following an inadvertent, direct injection of vaccine into the deltoid bursa or joint space, which brings on severe, long-lasting shoulder pain and limits range of motion. (American Academy of Pediatrics) The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describe Guillain-Barre syndrome as a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. Symptoms include weakness or tingling sensation in the legs that can spread to the arms and upper body and can lead to almost complete paralysis.

What can you do if you have been injured after receiving a flu shot?

What can you do if you have been injured after receiving a flu shot? If you should suffer a flu vaccine-related injury, or an injury from any vaccine, you can consult with a vaccine injury lawyer, who will file a claim in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in a no-fault claim. There is a statute of limitations of three years from the date of the adverse reaction for you to file your claim. The amount of your compensation depends on the extent of the illness or injury from the vaccine. Some of the most common flu shot injuries include:  
    • SIRVA
    • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
    • CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy)
    • Allergic reaction
    • Brachial Neuritis
    • Transverse Myelitis (TM)
    • Neuromyelitis optica (NMO)
    • Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
    • Optic neuritis
    • Brachial neuritis
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Seizures
    • Peripheral neuropathy
    • Encephalopathy
    • Cerebellar ataxia
  It does not cost anything to hire a vaccine injury attorney as the U.S. Court of Federal Claims pays our legal fees, which allows you to keep all of the compensation you receive if you win your case. If you, your child or someone else you care about has suffered an injury after receiving a vaccine, we are here to help make sure that your rights are protected. The process of making a claim for compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is complicated. You want an injury lawyer you can trust and who knows how to build a successful case on your behalf. To learn more about Crandall & Pera Law’s services, or to schedule a consultation with Steve Crandall, please call 877.686.8879  or fill out our contact form today.