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Flu Vaccines - Important for Health but Not Without Risk

As fall approaches, flu vaccines are being administered to young and old to avoid the seasonal flu which comes every year. People need to know that although vaccines have eradicated many diseases, they are not without risk. While most will receive their flu vaccine without event, there are those rare occasions where individuals may suffer serious injuries associated with the vaccine. In 1986 Congress enacted the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act. It is now called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act (the Program), because it covers adults as well as children to compensate those who suffer serious injuries following the receipt of vaccines as part of preventive care. The flu vaccine is one of the vaccines covered under the program.

In the event a person suffers from a serious injury associated with receipt of flu vaccines or other covered vaccines, the Program is the only forum to pursue a claim for those injuries. The Program precludes civil actions in State or Federal Court against the pharmaceutical company who manufactured the vaccine or the medical provider who administered the vaccine.

It is important to note that there is a three year statute of limitations for injuries following a recognized vaccine and a two year Statute of Limitations for death. Therefore if a claim is not brought in the Program within three years of the date of receipt of the vaccine or three years of the first manifestation of injury following receipt of the vaccine, or two years from the date of the vaccine which results in a death, the claim for injuries or death will have been lost. There is no discovery rule and no tolling.

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