Pertussis — more commonly known as whooping cough — is a serious disease that causes uncontrollable and violent coughing spells, which may lead to vomiting, disturbed sleep, choking, weight loss, incontinence, rib fractures, loss of consciousness and, in rare cases, death. With cases of pertussis on the rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that a pertussis vaccine is the best way to prevent against the disease. Unfortunately, pertussis vaccines have also been tied to serious adverse side effects, which may include life-threatening allergic reaction, brain injury, or seizure.
Do I have a pertussis vaccine lawsuit? If you or a loved one has suffered from an adverse side effect after receiving a pertussis vaccine, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss and we can help.
Why You Should Choose Schmidt & Clark, LLP – Pertussis vaccine injury claims are not like traditional personal injury or product liability claims. Regardless of where you are located in America, your claim must be filed in the Federal Vaccine Court, which is located in Washington, DC and your lawyer must obtain a special license to be admitted into such court.
Michael E. Schmidt, Managing Partner of our law firm is one of only a number of lawyers in the United States who are licensed to practice in the complex Vaccine Court system. Our lawyers can help you to obtain the highest possible award for your vaccine injury through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and accept vaccine side effects, vaccination, and immunization side effect lawsuits in all 50 states. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights.
Pertussis: An Overview
Among vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring ones in the United States. Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable and violent coughing spells. Because a deep “whooping” sound is made when a victim tries to breathe, pertussis is more often referred to as whooping cough.
It is a respiratory infection caused by a bacteria, which can cause permanent disability in victims, and even death. Pertussis is spread through tiny liquid droplets that move through the air after a sneeze or cough.
Initially, pertussis presents like a common cold because of an onset of similar symptoms.
However, within about 10 to 12 days, the onset of coughing episodes begins. The coughing spells may lead to vomiting, disturbed sleep, choking, weight loss, incontinence, rib fractures or even a loss of consciousness.
Up to 2 in 100 adolescents and 5 in 100 adults with pertussis are hospitalized or have complications as a result of a pertussis infection, including pneumonia and death.
Infants are at the highest risk of pertussis, especially if they are too young to be fully vaccinated. Pertussis makes it difficult for infants to eat, drink or breathe. Whooping cough may lead to pneumonia, seizures and brain damage. More than half of infants younger than 1 year of age who get pertussis must be hospitalized.
Since the 1980s, there’s been an increase in the number of cases of pertussis, especially in adolescents (10-19 years old) and babies younger than 6 months of age.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention commonly believe that vaccination is the best way to prevent pertussis.
Kinds of Pertussis Vaccines
DTaP is recommended by the CDC for the protection of infants and children. DTaP protects against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. For the most protection, children should receive a sequence of 5 DTaP shots before they turn 7 years old.
Because the effect of DTaP wears off with time, the CDC also recommends adolescents 11 or 12 years of age receive the booster shot Tdap, which will continue protection into adulthood.
Any adult who has not yet received Tdap should receive the booster in place of their next 10-year tetanus booster (Td).
Pertussis Vaccine Side Effects
Minor mild symptoms are common after receiving a vaccination. Such mild side effects include:
- Pain at the injection site
- Redness or swelling at the injection site
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache
- Chills, body aches, sore joints, rash, swollen glands
However, several other rare, but severe side effects have been associated with pertussis-containing vaccines. These include:
- Life-threatening allergic reaction
- Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness
- Permanent brain damage or Encephalopathy
- Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS)
- A temperature of 105 degrees or higher
- Collapse or shock-like state
- Excruciating pain and/or swelling
- Brief fainting spells and related symptoms
Severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis is the most common side effect associated with both Tdap and DTaP. While it is still extremely rare, it may be deadly. Signs of a severe allergic reaction may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heart beat
If you, your child, or a loved one has experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction or any other serious side effect associated with pertussis vaccines, you should consider contacting an attorney with Schmidt & Clark, LLP to discuss the potential for your claim. You may be entitled to monetary compensation for your pain and suffering.
Who Should Get The Pertussis Vaccination?
While the CDC recommends that every one should receive a pertussis-containing vaccination, there are several populations who should seriously consider receiving a pertussis vaccine in order to protect themselves and others.
Two scientific studies have found that in 30-40 percent of infant infections, mothers were responsible for a pertussis infection in their infant.
Any pregnant mothers who have not previously been vaccinated with Tdap should receive a dose, preferably during the third trimester, during the late second trimester, or immediately after delivery. Getting Tdap during pregnancy allows for antibodies to transfer to the newborn, likely protecting the baby from pertussis in early life.
Additionally, any family members who may come into contact with an infant should get a Tdap vaccine at least two weeks prior to seeing the infant. Adults 65 years and older should get a dose of Tdap if they never have before.
Finally, any healthcare professionals who have direct contact in hospitals or clinics should get a dose of Tdap.
Who Should Not Get The Pertussis Vaccination?
Certain populations should not receive the vaccinations that prevent pertussis. These people may include:
- Any child who had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of DTaP should not get another dose.
- Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of any tetanus, diphtheria, or pertussis containing vaccine should not get Tdap.
- Anyone who has a severe allergy to any component of a vaccine should not get that vaccine.
- Any child who suffered a brain or nervous system disease within 7 days after a dose of DTaP should not get another dose of DTaP or Tdap.
- Any child who had a seizure or collapsed, cried non-stop for 3 hours or more, or had a fever over 105 degrees after a dose of DTaP should not receive another dose of DTaP or should discuss it with their doctor. Additionally, anyone who has had Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) should speak with their doctor about the appropriateness of DTaP and Tdap.
Additionally, any person who is moderately or severely ill should wait until he or she is fully recovered before getting a DTaP or Tdap vaccine. You should speak to a doctor if you or someone you know experienced any severe side effects following a pertussis vaccine. If you received DTaP as an infant, you may still be able to receive Tdap as an adolescent or adult.
Pertussis Vaccination Schedule
The DTaP vaccine is recommended for any child under the age of 7. The CDC recommends a sequence of 5 shots of DTaP: one at 2 months, 4 month, 6 months, between 15-18 months, and between 4-6 years of age.
However, if children between the ages of 7-10 are not up-to-date with their DTaP vaccine, they should receive a Tdap vaccine before their 11 or 12 year old check up.
Because the effectiveness of vaccines decrease with time, adolescents aging 11 or 12 years should get the booster vaccine Tdap.
Any teens or adults who did not receive the Tdap vaccine at 11 or 12 should receive one dose when they next visit their health care provider.
Usually, an adult must receive a booster tetanus shot (Td) every 10 years. It may be easier for an adult to receive Tdap instead of Td at the time of their next regular tetanus booster.
Do I Have a Pertussis Vaccine Lawsuit?
Again, our lawyers can help you to obtain the highest possible award for your vaccine injury through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and accept pertussis vaccine, vaccination, and immunization side effect lawsuits in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one has suffered from an adverse side effect after receiving a pertussis vaccine, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss and we can help.