While vaccines are generally safe and well-tolerated, some patients may experience side effects. In such cases, the Indiana State Department of Health reminds you that under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, adverse events must be reported in the national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
The web-based system is designed for physicians and parents to report a suspected adverse event after receiving a vaccine. Once VAERS receives a report, it is thoroughly investigated, analyzed and then made public online. About 30,000 reports are submitted annually, but only 13 percent are classified as serious.
VAERS also promotes and distributes vaccine safety-related materials to parents, guardians, health care providers, vaccine manufacturers and state vaccine programs.
Primary objectives of the VAERS program include:
- Detect new, unusual or rare vaccine adverse events (VAEs)
- Monitor increases in known adverse events
- Identify potential patient risk factors for particular types of adverse events
- Identify vaccine lots with increased numbers or types of reported adverse events
- Assess vaccine lots with increased numbers or types of reported adverse events
- Assess safety of newly licensed vaccines
Reports can be printed and completed on paper and sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or be filled out online through the VAERS website.
Remember that completing a report does not establish causality but simply states what vaccine was administered and what event occurred.