Vaccine Article — Stay Away from Needles

November 21, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Hi all…

It has been ages since I have used the forum–please forgive me, but life moves on. Even though I still have aches and pains, I have managed to put my life somewhat together. My tetanus shot reaction was 8 years ago this month. Seems as if things never change.

Here is an intersting story I just got in my e-mail about a GBS flu shot reaction in October. It may be posted somewhere else on this site??

Date: Sun, Oct 26 2008 8:50 am From: CIDP A New Westminster man is raising a warning flag after he contracted arare and debilitating condition linked to the flu shot that left himparalyzed for almost five months.Every fall, health care workers across Canada distribute 10 millioninfluenza vaccinations, and for the vast majority of people, the flushot causes no major problems.Within two weeks of getting his annual flu shot in 2007, however,Richard Ryan, 44, went from
being happy and healthy to being inexcruciating pain.At first, Ryan thought he had injured his back, and he checked intothe local hospital emergency room, he told CBC News on Wednesday.But Ryan was also suffering some numbness, and when a neurologisttested his reflexes, he found Ryan had none, he said.”The doctor asked me what was going on in my life. And as soon as Isaid I was feeling ill after getting a flu shot, he said, ‘Stop rightthere, I know what you have,'” Ryan said.Guillain-Barré syndrome linked to vaccineThe neurologist diagnosed Ryan with Guillain-Barré syndrome, anautoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system.According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, the chance ofdeveloping that particular disease from a flu shot is one in amillion.But as Ryan learned the consequences can be severe. By the time theemergency room exam was over, he was
unable to get up. He spent thenext 10 weeks recovering in hospital, including three weeks inintensive care, barely able to breathe or eat for himself.”My face was paralyzed. I had no feeling inside my mouth. I couldn’tfeel my tongue. My left eye wouldn’t close so it had to be taped shutto sleep,” he said.The illness progressed into a lifelong condition known as chronicinflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), and a year later heremains heavily medicated, unable to work, and has memory problems.Although the disease is in remission, he is not expected to make afull recovery, and the chronic condition could return at any point inthe future.Worth the risk?Now Ryan is concerned that public health officials are promoting theflu vaccine while most people are not fully aware of the risks.However, Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an epidemiologist at the B.C. Centrefor Disease
Control, says the benefits of the flu vaccine stilloutweigh the risks for the vast majority of people.”Nothing is completely risk-free,” she told CBC News. “It isalways amatter of weighing the benefits and the risks.”Medical information provided with flu shots does mention the one-in-a-million chance of getting Guillain-Barré syndrome.But it is especially important for people with heart and lungproblems, the elderly and the chronically ill, to get the influenzavaccine because it could save their lives, Skowronski said.”Influenza itself can be life threatening, and it’s those groups thatwe want to make sure are not put off from receiving influenza vaccineunnecessarily,” said Skowronski.There are more than 2,000 flu-related deaths in Canada every year.Seniors, people with weak immune systems and some children are athighest risk.More common possible side-effects of
vaccinations can include fever,muscle pain and weakness.For his part, Ryan maintains that he’s a good example of the fact thatthe benefits of the vaccination don’t always outweigh the risks.”I think if people knew how serious the illness is, they would thinktwice about the flu shot,” he said.