Flu Shot Misses the Mark This Year

Makers of chicken noodle soup have done well this flu season.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently concluded that the flu vaccine is only 18 percent effective against this year’s dominant flu strain. That’s down from the CDC’s January estimate of 23 percent.

The odds are especially stacked against children. For those two to eight years of age, the flu vaccine is only 15 percent effective. Young children are prone to viral infections because they have not yet built up immunity through exposure to other people.

Part of the problem stems from a now withdrawn pediatric recommendation. In June of 2014, the CDC recommended the nasal-spray vaccine over the flu shot for young children. But the CDC has now concluded that the nasal-spray flu vaccine is not effective for children.

The nasal-spray vaccine loses potency when exposed to heat. Samples left at room temperature during the hottest days proved the least effective. That could explain why a strongly recommended vaccine left so many children unprotected.

There is uncertainty surrounding the flu vaccine’s effectiveness. But we can be certain of vaccines’ potential side effects.

Often these are mild — a sore throat or runny nose, for instance. But sometimes, they can be much more serious.

One rare but very real possibility is Guillain-Barré Syndrome. GBS occurs when the body’s immune system turns on its nervous system and diminishes a person’s basic motor skills. Occasionally, GBS can lead to paralysis.

The condition is rare, afflicting roughly one in 100,000 people.

GBS can lead to serious complications in children. A child with GBS might have stiff joints or muscles, and recovery could be extensive. Children affected by GBS could need physical, occupational, or speech therapy. Full recovery can take up to two years.

Fortunately, a federal program can help. In 1998, Congress implemented the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to aid those who suffer from vaccine-related injuries. Last year, the VICP’s average award was $500,000.

To view an updated list of the vaccines the VICP covers, check out the vaccine injury compensation table on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website.

Flu season has been particularly bumpy this year — and it’s not over. The CDC’s new findings suggest that this season’s flu vaccine is not offering sufficient protection. But when it comes to rare vaccine side effects, the VICP always will.

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If you have suffered from a negative shot reaction, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, shoulder pain, or any other illness subsequent to receiving a vaccination, please contact an attorney today. The Law Offices of Leah Durant is available to provide you with a free telephone consultation. This vaccine attorney is a seasoned litigator whose practice is dedicated to serving those injured by vaccines.

 



Categories: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (Flu GBS), National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

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