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What you need to know before vaccinating your child

By Thao Ho

Vaccinating children against infectious diseases has been one of the most effective public policy initiatives ever undertaken in the United States. Diseases that once terrorized us and claimed millions of lives have been all but forgotten because of childhood vaccinations. In fact, vaccinations have reduced vaccine-preventable disease by over 95 percent – which is one of the reasons most parents view vaccinations as yet another rite of passage for their children.

But there is another side to this story that is rarely told. Unfortunately, vaccination programs can carry a human cost as well. The U. S. government acknowledges, “[a] vaccine can have severe side effects, including death or disabling conditions requiring lifetime medical care.”¹ These reactions can be “devastating” to affected families. Conditions that may be associated with vaccines include autism, neurological injuries, seizures and a number of autoimmune disorders.

Parents should not vaccinate their child if he/she is sick or still recovering from an illness. Vaccines are designed to create an immune response in the child. The body’s response to the vaccine is what makes the child eventually become immune from the disease.

When a person is sick, however, his or her immune system is already working overtime to help the body heal. Therefore, if you vaccinate when your child is sick, there is a chance your child’s immune system will not be able to handle the load. It is always better to be safe and wait to vaccinate your child until after he or she has fully recuperated.

For decades, vaccine manufacturers added a mercury-containing preservative called Thimerosal to vaccines routinely administered to children. Thimerosal was used to prevent bacterial contamination. In recent years, however, concerns regarding Thimerosal and various neurological disorders, including autism, have been raised. As a result, Thimerosal has been removed from nearly all vaccines.

Still, it is recommended that you make sure your child receives mercury-free vaccines. Speak to your doctor about your concerns before you vaccinate your child. Your doctor should understand that you are concerned for your child’s welfare and are looking for answers to your questions.

In 1986, Congress enacted The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for persons injured by routine vaccinations. Any claim for compensation relating to a vaccine covered by the Act must initially be filed in this program.

Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Nor are they aware that all program claims must be filed within 3 years of the date of the first symptoms of an adverse reaction, regardless of when you first suspected the vaccine as a cause.

If your child develops a severe, adverse reaction to the vaccine, you need to know your rights. Williams Hart can help. We are committed to helping families obtain compensation for the potentially devastating effects of vaccine-related injuries under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and, in some cases, via traditional litigation against the vaccine manufacturers.

¹General Accounting Office Report, Dec. 22, 1999 p.1.

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