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.
The push to develop a vaccine against the Ebola virus is on, and vaccination is going to be an important part of controlling this contagious disease. Phase 1 trials are slated to begin soon in the United States. Even if adequate safety and immunogenicity are demonstrated in the phase 1 studies, vaccines will not be available in substantial quantity until the first quarter of 2015 at the earliest. Even if an effective vaccine can be produced, it is not likely to be 100% effective to succeed in stemming the current or future outbreaks. There are different strains and the virus continues to mutate. While I agree that an Ebola vaccine is an important of the global strategy to control the virus, I do not agree that Americans should receive an Ebola vaccine and be subjected to the risk a serious adverse event or death, unless they are traveling to an endemic area. So why are we doing these Phase 1 trials on Americans?