Change to Federal Vaccine Program Makes It Easier for Individuals Diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) to Secure Financial Compensation

April 7, 2017 |

When seeking compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), one of the first issues to address is whether the petitioner’s illness or injury appears on the Vaccine Injury Table. While “off-table” injuries (those that are not listed on the Vaccine Injury Table) are eligible for compensation, securing compensation requires proof that the petitioner’s vaccination caused his or her condition. For “on-table” conditions, this is not the case. On-table injuries and illnesses are so clearly linked to certain vaccinations that the federal government does not require proof of causation in order for petitioners to secure financial compensation.

Since Congress established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in 1988, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) has always been an off-table injury. But, on March 21, 2017, that changed.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is Now Listed on the Vaccine Injury Table

On March 21, several long-anticipated changes to the VICP went into effect. One of the most significant of these changes was to make GBS an on-table injury for the annual flu shot. Under the revised Vaccine Injury Table, petitioners seeking compensation for vaccine-related GBS no longer need proof of actual causation if:

  • The period between their flu shot and first symptom or manifestation of GBS was between three and 42 days; and,
  • They received their diagnosis on or after March 21, 2009.

It is important to emphasize that GBS is currently an on-table injury only with respect to the seasonal flu vaccine. Individuals diagnosed with GBS following tetanus and other vaccinations will still need to prove causation in order to file a successful claim under the VICP.

Subtypes of GBS Covered Under the Revised Vaccine Injury Table

While the revisions to the Vaccine Injury Table cover most subtypes of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, the comments that follow the table list specific requirements for diagnoses of certain subtypes. These include:

  • Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (AIDP)
  • Acute motor axonal neuropathy (AMAN)
  • Acute motor and sensory neuropathy (AMSAN)
  • Miller Fisher Syndrome (also known as Fisher Syndrome)

The comments also identify exclusionary criteria for eligible diagnoses of GBS. These include (but are not limited to) an ultimate diagnosis of brain stem encephalitis (other than Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis, which is a known but rare variant of GBS), chronic immune demyelinating polyradiculopathy (CIDP), drug-induced neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord compression, spinal cord infarct or vasculitis. For more-comprehensive lists of the diagnostic requirements and exclusionary criteria for on-table GBS, you can download the revised Vaccine Injury Table from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) website.

Have You or Someone You Love Been Diagnosed with Flu Vaccine GBS?

If you, your spouse or your child has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome in the past eight years, we recommend reviewing your family’s vaccination records to determine if the diagnosis may have been vaccine-related. If so, you could be eligible for significant financial compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. To learn more about the requirements for filing a successful claim under the VICP and the no-fee legal representation available from GBS Vaccine Lawyer, call us at (202) 775-9200 or request a free consultation online today.

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