Vaccines: Can We Mitigate the Risks?

On a general scale, people can agree that vaccines are more often than note beneficial. For those that receive vaccinations, they are provided with the protection and immunity from various diseases that might otherwise cause them great harm up to and even including the point of death. The United States has proven to have the most effective vaccination program as well as one of the safest. However, despite all efforts and good intentions, vaccines aren’t always effective. Sometimes, vaccines are even responsible for adverse effects upon those to whom they are administered.

According to the Center for Disease Control, many vaccines come with a risk of side effects after administration. Most of these side effects are minor and temporary, such as headaches or soreness at the site of injections from receiving a Hepatitis A vaccination. However, even despite being less common among the general population, other risks for surfacing side effects exist with greater weight. The vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella has been known to cause deafness and even brain damage in some young children. The yellow fever vaccine has been documented to cause severe allergic reactions, nerve system reactions and even organ failure. Although the CDC estimates 1 in 250,000 recipients of the initial vaccination to become afflicted with organ failure, the very thought that it’s a possibility at all (however remote) is still scary. It’s almost understandable why debates loom about the general pros and cons of vaccinating children at all with such repercussions to worry parents.

Needless to say, the general intent of vaccinations in the first place is as a preventive measure from diseases and their side effects. So, despite the unfortunate cases that suffered severe adverse effects, the need for vaccines among the general population was still something for the government to consider. In 1986, legislation was passed known as the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. It began the process of providing compensation to those who suffered unexpectedly due to administration of vaccines. Two years later, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established.

The main purpose of such a program was to carry out the process of giving recompense to families who had suffered. Beyond that, it was also a measure to limit liability of vaccine manufacturers and ensure that these companies would not go out of business from what might have proven to be extremely costly lawsuits. Because, as awful as one victim’s suffering may be as a result of vaccination, there were millions more who would still need them all the same.

The truth is that vaccines in general have an extremely high success rate for preventing disease and infection in millions of Americans. The unfortunate supplement to that truth is that there are those of us out there whose bodies don’t react well to some vaccines being administered to us. And while it is certainly not the sort of safety net of reassurances that many of us might like, constant vigilance from experts to review for inherent risk and make the general public aware of that inherent risk that as well as programs implemented to compensate unfortunate families is a good foundation for building blocks to settle in the future when medical technology can hopefully improve to a point of alleviating even these uncommon risk factors.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.