Over 1000 Adverse Reactions to H1N1 Vaccine Since October
Last Updated: Tue, 11/24/2009 - 4:31pm
In recent months, H1N1, or swine flu, has been spreading allover the globe, raising concern and alarm. First detected in March 2009, H1N1 is already responsible for over 1,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. Worldwide, H1N1 flu has become a globalproblem, as an outbreak map created by the New England Journal of Medicine shows. While most common in the U.S. and Europe, H1N1 is also affecting much of Asia and parts of Africa. One of the biggest problems concerning H1N1 has been the lack of vaccines. Although the U.S. originally estimated that approximately 120 million doses of the vaccine would be available by mid-October, in the beginning of November only 11 million had been produced. But while the vaccine may help protect against swine flu, reports from the Centers for Disease Control suggest that the vaccine has problems of its own.
Since the vaccine began being administered in early October, there have been almost two thousand adverse events reported to the Centers for Disease Control vaccine reporting system, VAERS. Judicial Watch used the Freedom of Information Act to request copies of the VAERS. From October 1 – November 4th, there were 1,112 adverse reactions reported. The most common side effects were generally not serious and included fever (present in 240 cases) and nausea (present in 112 cases). However, there were also cases of serious and life threatening reactions. In total, 38 cases were classified as serious, and twelve were considered life threatening. There were also six people who died after receiving the vaccine, although at this time it is unknown whether the vaccine caused the deaths.
Many of the adverse reactions affected young children,including an eight year old who suffered “chills, increased [heart rate],lethargy and altered mental status…cough, nasal congestion, fever, diarrhea, sore throat, disoriented and lethargic” (ID: 362672). His condition was considered serious and he was hospitalized. Another child was hospitalized when he experienced seizures and convulsions immediately after receiving the vaccine (ID: 362926). Less than one day after vaccination, a 5 year old boy visited the ER with an aggravated “croup sounding cough.” He “could not breathe…even tried crying – he was not able to get air in his lungs…started turning blue/gray" (ID: 361270). Another five year old developed “life threatening” symptoms within one day of receiving the vaccine, including a cough, hoarseness, and a high fever (ID: 362913).
A one and a half year old baby with no pre-existing conditions was hospitalized three days after receiving the vaccine with a long list of symptoms including: “Cough, Crying, Diarrhea, Dyskinesia, Irritability, Malaise, Movement disorder, Muscle spasms, Muscle twitching, Pyrexia, Pyuria, Respiratory tract congestion, Rhinorrhoea, Screaming" (ID: 362196). Similarly, another one-year-old infant wasadmitted to the hospital three days after receiving the vaccine. He had a high fever and began sufferingseizures. His status was classified as life threatening, and he spent 10 days in the hospital (ID: 364197).
The vaccine may also be harmful during pregnancy. In one VAERS report, a woman who was eight months pregnant with healthy prenatal exams received the vaccine. Four days later, she complained of nausea and feeling warm. At the hospital, it was discovered that the baby had died. While the cause of death was unknown, the ultrasound revealed that there was “no amniotic fluid around the baby” (ID: 36299).
There was no overall similarity in serious cases, but the more common side effects included severe shortness of breathe and seizures. A 55 year-old man suffered a life threatening reaction “immediately after H1N1 vaccine…[patient] reported not feeling well, could not breathe, obvious respiratory distress, weakness, and cyanosis, elevated heart rate” (ID: 362087). Another man “developed headache that progressively got worse with facial pain” one day after receiving the H1N1 vaccine. After being admitted into the hospital, he had a seizure (ID: 363685). In an extremely serious case, A 35 year old patient with no previous medical conditions died three days after receiving the H1N1 vaccine, after being sent to the ER for “nausea, vomiting, chills, stomach cramping, diarrhea, tachypnea,hypotension, and diaphoresis.” The cause of death was “due to septic shock” and asplenia, a condition that occurs when the spleen is not functioning properly (ID: 362855).
VAERS reports also suggest that in some cases, the vaccine could be causing H1N1 flu. One woman was given the H1N1 vaccine and less than three days later she was sent to the emergency room and hospitalized, “presumed H1N1 positive, from the H1N1 vaccine.” Her condition was classified as life threatening (ID: 36285). A man who had received the vaccine went to a clinic and was diagnosed as having “more than likely – H1N1 as a result of the live virus vaccine” (ID: 361344). Another woman was hospitalized two days after vaccination, with “H1N1 suspected.”
The Department of Health and Human Services continues to monitor the vaccine but has concluded that the H1N1 vaccine is safe. Others, however, have raised questions. Barbara Loe Fischer of the National Vaccine Information Center questioned both the necessity of the vaccine and the seriousness of H1N1 itself. Fisher stated that the vaccine was overhyped, and that there was “an unprecedented campaign by the federal health officials for us to take this very seriously when the evidence is that this is not anymore serious than the season influenza.” Most people conclude that the H1N1 vaccine has the same safety rate as regular flu vaccines. Still, caution is necessary, especially in light of the reactions to the vaccine. In order to aid the public in their decisions regarding the vaccine, Judicial Watch has included all VAERS reports from October through November 7, 2009 below, and will be requesting updated reports as necessary.