At the beginning of 2021, circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine and its possible side effects were all speculative. No one in the U.S. had been administered shots, so there was no telling what the future of these shots might hold.
Now that over half the U.S. population has received at least one dose of some type of COVID-19 vaccine, a clearer picture is starting to form of what vaccine side effects and injuries may look like. That also means it is slowly become clearer what a victim’s options may be for seeking damages should they experience extremely severe adverse side effects from their shot, or misconduct on the part of the person administering it.
The Realities of COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects
The recent scare involving the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine has given many people pause about what to expect from their own shots. But the statistics behind this vaccine, as well as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, are likely in your favor.
People who receive any of the currently three available vaccines may experience such common side effects as:
- Pain at the injection site
- Swelling around the injection site
- Redness at the injection site
- Rash around the injection site
- Muscle pains or aches
These symptoms occur not because the body is experiencing COVID-19—the vaccine contains no amount of SARS-CoV-2, the strain that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. Rather, these symptoms are the human body’s natural reaction as it learns to increase its defenses against COVID-19. This means that even though you may experience one or more of these side effects, you are not actually “sick,” and your symptoms should subside within a few days.
When the FDA placed a hold on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports of dangerous blood clots as a side effect, it was to conduct further research into the validity and likelihood of these occurrences continuing in others. But when it was discovered that only six people out of more than 7 million who had received the vaccine (about 0.000086%) exhibited this side effect, it was reinstated for safe use. Based on statistical studies, individuals have a higher chance of being struck by lightning or involved in a plane crash during their lifetime than experiencing this type of vaccine side effect.
While the three COVID-19 vaccines currently available to the American public have been deemed safe to administer primarily to people over 18 years of age, the process of receiving vaccines in general is never without its risks and possibilities.
Possible Scenarios of COVID-19 Vaccine Injury
A vaccine adverse event (VAE), often referred to as a vaccine injury, is most commonly reported as an adverse event caused by vaccination. They are relatively rare overall, but do happen, and with a wide variety of vaccines. Each year, hundreds of people file claims with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), a federal sector designated for representing a fraction of vaccine recipients who experience a VAE.
These VAE claims can include a number of things, from allergic reactions to the vaccine to something as severe as spinal cord damage. That’s because, as with many medical procedures, vaccines in general have the potential to cause a variety of injuries or illnesses. One of the most common, however, to occur during any type of vaccine shot, is shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA).
SIRVA most often results in an error during the vaccination process. It happens when a vaccine is injected into the shoulder capsule rather than the deltoid muscle in the shoulder. It can also occur if the vaccine is administered too deeply into the tissue. Pain is the most common and most immediate symptom of SIRVA, and it is often followed by muscle weakness, reduced strength, limited range of motion in your arm, and possible other physical effects. There are also different types of SIRVA that can result from your injury:
- Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)
- Brachial neuritis (neuropathy affecting the chest, shoulder, and arms)
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Shoulder bursitis
Most often, SIRVA is the result of human error, rather than the result of the components that make up the vaccine itself. Other types of human error can occur when it comes to vaccine administration, such as improper dosage and administration of the incorrect vaccine entirely. These are even more rare than SIRVA, but again, they have been known to occur in the past. So, it stands to reason that SIRVA or some other form of shot misconduct could occur with a COVID-19 vaccine. And when this type of negligence takes place, there may be grounds to file a claim.
Filing a Vaccine Injury Claim
When a patient experiences especially adverse effects to a vaccine, whether they are caused by human error or a more severe medical reaction to the vaccine, that person may have grounds to file a claim with the VICP. Dubbed the “vaccine court,” the VICP was created in 1988 as a way to both protect the use of vaccines as well as lawfully compensate those who were injured while receiving them. They operate on a no-fault system by which injured victims can have their cases heard by the court and then be potentially compensated for their vaccine injuries.
Filing such a claim works very similarly to most other types of personal injury claims. You receive treatment for your injuries suffered, keep a record of those treatments and their associated costs, then file to have the vaccine court hear your case and make their deliberation on your compensation. If these sound like stressful steps to take, that’s because they can be—unless you have an experienced vaccine injury lawyer on your side.
Although it may still be challenging to seek compensation from the VICP for adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, it is still entirely plausible that if misconduct was involved during your COVID-19 vaccine injection, you likely have a case to file. The Whisler Law Firm team is experienced with representing clients who have suffered vaccine injuries, and we’re ready to review your case. Call us at 833-529-5677 or fill out our online form to request your free consultation today.