Vaccines by and large are beneficial and in many cases are required. I personally have had multiple vaccines and have had my children vaccinated. During the course of my practice of law I have seen Polio disappear, no Small Pox, and until recently the absence of Mumps, Measles and whooping cough. The new vaccine for HPV will help the next generation.

Obviously I am a proponent of individuals being vaccinated and despite the, at times, questionable effectiveness have had annual flu vaccines and have had the Pneumonia and Shingles vaccines.

However, all vaccines are not manufactured to the appropriate standards and there have been problems with their manufacture. As a result and because vaccines are so important the Federal Government had enacted a vaccine compensation act. This allows an individual or individuals who have received a vaccine from a bad batch to make a claim to the fund. This is a good thing.

While vaccines have to be manufactured and there may be problems with the manufacture, vaccines also have to be administered and this may well represent a second issue.

With the expansion of the availability of vaccinations outside of physicians’ offices to pharmacies the potential for a problem might arise. Vaccines are to be given into the muscle of the arm and not into the shoulder joint and not into a nerve.

Vaccines given into the shoulder joint are improperly given and may well lead to joint and arm problems. There are two potential steps that a patient may take. Depending on the patient and the situation one choice may be better than the other.

Option 1. File a claim with the Federal Government. Compensation through the act requires timely filing and a process whereby the claim can be evaluated and eventually compensated.

Option 2. File a medical negligence claim against the individual and organization providing the vaccination. The allegation would be that the individual providing the vaccine did an improper injection. The injection went into the joint leading to the damage that developed.

Deciding which of the two options is best for you are to be discussed with your attorney.

In a practice such as ours, potential claims provide unique opportunities to help the family that has been affected. Some years ago, one of our young clients received an injection for the treatment of allergies and such materials contain alcohol. The injection was given badly and the alcohol went into a nerve. The alcohol killed the nerve and the child lost a large degree of function in his arm and hand. We knew a neurosurgeon at Yale New Haven who had the capability of helping. We referred the child to him. After an examination he determined that he could operate on the child’s arm, remove the damaged portion of the nerve and reattach the two ends of the nerve and possibly restore function to the child’s arm.

Two events occurred. First the operation was a success and the child regained about 90% of the function that he had lost. What a fantastic result for the remainder of his life. Second, we won the law suit. The damages were smaller than they would have been if function was not restored, but no one cared. The child was better.