For ease of navigation and reference in this very comprehensive and extensive section on vaccines we are posting the "Quick Index" for the entire contents at the beginning of each page.
To jump immediately to the information available on the Database of Vaccine Injury: The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, please click here.
The U.S. government has paid more than $1 billion to compensate victims of vaccination injuries and continues to compile a database of all reported "adverse events'' from vaccine administration. This database, available on the Internet , was instrumental in helping health officials detect bowel obstruction problems that led to the recent withdrawal of the rotavirus vaccine.
While the overwhelming majority of vaccinations are safe and without incident, about 1700 of the 11,000 "vaccine adverse events" reported annually are serious, and result in problems that include hospitalizations, death or disability.
For the more seriously harmed or fatally injured victims - many of them children - the government has established a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The VICP has awarded more than $1 billion in compensation since it began in 1988.
Called the VAERS Searchable Database, for Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System website is a cooperative program for vaccine safety of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS is a post-marketing safety surveillance program, collecting information about adverse events (possible side effects) that occur after the administration of US licensed vaccines.
The Web site provides a nationwide mechanism by which adverse events following immunization (AEFI) may be reported, analyzed and made available to the public. The VAERS Web site also provides a vehicle for disseminating vaccine safety-related information to parents/guardians, healthcare providers, vaccine manufacturers, state vaccine programs, and other constituencies.
Parents and others interested in the kind of reactions occurring after vaccinations can search all cases for the past several years.
"We're very glad that people have the opportunity to look at the database for themselves,'' said Susan S. Ellenberg, Ph.D., who helps monitor VAERS. "Because the truth is, the more people are looking at VAERS, the more likely they are to find some kind of a signal that should be pursued."
The stated purpose of VAERS is to detect possible signals of adverse events associated with vaccines. Additional scientific investigations are almost always required to properly validate signals from VAERS and establish a cause and effect relationship between a vaccine and an adverse event.
Potential concerns raised by VAERS are investigated through a CDC project called the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD). VSD is a large-linked database and includes information on more than six million people, allowing for planned vaccine safety studies as well as timely investigations of hypotheses.
The site for securely submitting vaccine adverse event data via the Internet is: https://secure.vaers.org/VaersDataEntryintro.htm. Information identifying the person who received the vaccine will not be made available to the public and information supplied in this on-line form will be securely transmitted to VAERS. For additional information, please call VAERS toll-free at 1-800-822-7967 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Coordinator for Integrative Psychiatry and System Medicine
Program in Integrative Medicine
University of Arizona College of Medicine