Two more bad reactions to the H1N1 vaccine

By: Carol Sanders
Winnipeg Free Press
28/10/2009 1:00 AM


THE H1N1 vaccine isn’t for everyone.

Since the mass immunization began in Winnipeg Monday, two people have had rare allergic reactions to it, according to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

“We have had two incidents involving some allergic-type symptoms,” said Dr. Sande Harlos, a WRHA medical officer of health. “This is what we’re prepared to deal with.”

The maker of the H1N1 vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline, warns that up to one in 1,000 doses may result in an allergic reaction leading to a “dangerous decrease of blood pressure.”

“That’s why you’re asked to wait 15 minutes afterwards,” Harlos said. A severe reaction will happen within minutes of getting the shot.

By 3 p.m. Tuesday, 15,695 Winnipeggers had been immunized without incident. When someone reacts badly to the vaccine, there are medical staff on hand to help, Harlos said.

The vaccine recipient is taken to hospital to be kept under observation. Harlos said the two people who reacted badly to the vaccine — one on Monday and one on Tuesday — are OK. “They left in good condition.”

Meanwhile, Winnipegger Janice Dehod is worried about her allergy to the mercury-based preservative thimerosal used in the vaccine.

“I know if it is in eye drops or contact lens preserver, it will make my the skin around my eyes puff up and swell in a really ugly way,” she said. “I am not sure what thimerosal will do in my veins.”

Harlos said unless someone has a severe egg or thimerosal allergy, they shouldn’t have a severe reaction to the vaccine.

“Some people have a mild reaction when it’s used topically. That isn’t the same as a systemic whole-body reaction,” Harlos said.

A severe allergic reaction is an anaphylactic response — the throat closes, blood pressure plunges and airways tighten, said Dr. Joel Kettner, Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health.

Dehod said she has had an adverse reaction to a flu vaccine in the past, but doesn’t know if it contained thimerosal. She wishes Manitoba would obtain vaccine without thimerosal.

“I don’t want to be one of those people that falls through the cracks and gets H1N1 because Manitoba Health did a pretty good job for most people and gambled with the health of those that are a little more sensitive to preservative.”

Mercury downplayed

Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative. In large concentrations, or over extended periods of exposure, mercury can cause damage to the brain and kidneys. However, the Public Health Agency of Canada says the amount of mercury in the H1N1 flu vaccine is significantly less than in a can of tuna.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended a long-term goal of removing thimerosal from vaccines, provided that safe alternatives to this preservative can be found. “This will help to reduce unnecessary environmental exposure to mercury.”

  • Pingback: uberVU - social comments()

  • Bearodom

    Nov. 9th , 2009 I had severe allergic reaction to H1n1.  Within 20 min. i became dizzy with burning in brain, chest, legs.  I loss my speech, had swelling of face(eyes and lips), rapid heartbeat, and weak arms and legs.  I was rushed to hospital where the doctors treated me for uncontrollable shaking.  I was never treated for adverse reaction because they said it was too soon for GBS.  They did not know how to respond.  I suffered severe chills, brain felt like it was in puzzle pieces, unable to speak to four children, heart hurt and labored breathing, headache, and i was unable to return to teaching job or function at all.  My head was numb as well as not being able to feel hotness or cold.  I couldn’t figure out how to talk or even count to 3.  It continued with no treatment and doctors saying maybe I was stressed.  My friends and family watched me as I slurred my words and was unable to do anything.  I did go see alternative doctor whom did some treatments and gave me vitamins etc., to help.  Alpha Lipoic Acid was the one ingredient that helped somewhat with my mental status.  I have learned now that it helps with inflammation and slow down the response of attack on the body.  (antioxidant).  I now have severe arthritis possibly RA and have episodes that I believe are MS.  I have  lost my health insurance and have not been able to go to doctor in past year in hopes of a diagnosis.  my family has suffered greatly and we have had hard time getting by financially because of my inablilty to work.  I continue to suffer physically and mentally and will never be the same.  My children have lost their mother.  I will although continue to do the best that I can.  Doctors are not prepared for reactions from vaccines.  I know 4 other people that also had reactions and they were not treated either but were said they had anxiety.  My vaccine did contain thirmesol…  Still looking for a doctor to help..

  • Janet

    I had a reaction to the H1N1 vaccine in Nov. 2010. It caused my foot to go numb about 10 days after receiving the vaccine. Then the numbness traveled up my leg, then the left foot started with numbness, then my hands. I was diagnosed with CIDP a rare complication of the H1N1 vaccine (chronic form of GBS). This is a lifetime disease and I will never be cured.I now have to have expensive IV infusions of immunoglobin every 21 days for the rest of my life to keep the neurological condition at bay. Like i said, there is no cure and I will have to live with this condition forever now just because I was not told of the possibility of this side effect. I guess in 1976 when giving the first Swin Flu vaccine there was a increase spike in neurological conditions such as GBS and CIDP. The government kept it hushed and told neurologists to report any conditions but keep it hushed. They were well aware that the H1N1 caused this problem when giving the vaccine in 2009 and 2010 but greed kept them vaccinating people. So maybe you have something like I was diagnosed with. It is far more common that we are lead to believe from the makers of the vaccine. See a neurologist if you have not already done so. The sooner diagnosed the better your life will be with milder symptoms.