National Infant Immunization Week & Vaccine Injury

April 19, 2016

The debate over vaccinations has been going on for decades. One side champions a vaccination policy aiming to have every American child receive approximately 38 inoculation shots before age five. The other side believes this policy is deeply flawed and that vaccines are more hazardous than they are helpful. The truth may lie somewhere in the middle – no drug is completely without risks, and they affect people in different ways.

Slated for April 16 – 23, National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They help protect vaccinated individuals as well as entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. It is estimated that among children born during 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths. NIIW reminds people that immunization is a shared responsibility involving families, healthcare professionals, and public health officials.

Because vaccines protect the person who is vaccinated as well as the people around them, there are school immunization laws in every state. Medical and religious exemptions exist, but are rarely granted. Children who are exempt are subject to removal from school during an outbreak. In Pennsylvania, children starting kindergarten are required by law to have had:

  • 4 doses of tetanus vaccine
  • 4 doses of diphtheria vaccine
  • 3 doses of polio vaccine
  • 2 doses of measles vaccine
  • 2 doses of mumps vaccine
  • 1 dose of rubella (German measles) vaccine
  • 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine
  • 2 doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine or evidence of immunity.

Children entering seventh grade need to have had:

  • 1 dose of tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) if five years have passed since last tetanus immunization
  • 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV).

Pennsylvania Vaccine Laws

Vaccines for human papillomavirus (HPV), influenza, septicemia and rotavirus are also recommended. In addition, some states mandate certain vaccinations for healthcare workers, patients and inmates (Pennsylvania currently does not).

The price of protection was recognized by the federal government in 1988, when it created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to award compensation to people who were injured, or to their estates in the event of death, caused by vaccinations. Over 16,870 claims have been filed with this no-fault alternative dispute resolution system since it began, and almost 4,600 have been determined to be compensable.

If you have seen a change in your child’s mental or physical development after a vaccination, or have suffered a vaccine injury, you have nothing to lose by contacting the PA vaccine and personal injury attorneys at Wapner Newman. For almost 40 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We offer risk-free consultations and work on a contingency basis, which means that we do not require you to pay any fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf. We encourage you to contact us today by calling 1-800-529-6600 or filling out a free case evaluation form.