A routine flu vaccination left a young girl badly injured and paralyzed from the waist down, a Southeast Texas family is claiming.
The family of Breanna Browning, 9, says the young girl was healthy and full of life, but began experiencing debilitating adverse effects within a few hours after receiving her flu shot on October 15 last month.
“Eight hours later, she was profusely vomiting and again Friday morning. Saturday, she was paralyzed from the waist down, blind and seemed like she had a seizure,” Breanna’s mother told KTRK.
Breanna has been in the pediatric intensive critical care unit since being transported to the hospital by ambulance on October 17.
“We know in our hearts this was the flu vaccine that made her ill,” Breanna’s stepfather, Johnny Alexander said.
“She was perfectly healthy. No symptoms, no sickness,” Breanna’s mother added.
Breanna was diagnosed as having ADEM, (acute disseminated encephyalomyelitis), characterized by a severe, sudden inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
According to doctors, Breanna will require at least one year of extensive rehabilitation and still may not recover fully. Worse yet, doctors say the disease could strike again.
“This little girl was full of life and very active. And just to think that a simple vaccination that is required did this to her. She remains positive and brave… and not understanding what has happened to her,” a family member claims.
A doctor consulted by KTRK said adverse reactions to flu shots are “very rare” and “minor.”
“There are some cases, very rare, that a flu shot has a more severe reaction and those reactions are minor in terms of the number of people who are going to get those,” the Executive Director of Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, Dr. Umair Shah, said.
A federal program known as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) actually receives up to 20,000 reports regarding vaccine damage per year, and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has also reportedly awarded over $3 billion to families since its inception.
The case is reminiscent of that of 19-year-old Chandler Webb, who in November 2013 died after his brain swelled following a routine flu shot. His mother, Lori Webb, directly blamed the flu shot for his death.
The package inserts of most flu vaccines continue to list a number of possible adverse reactions, including Guillan Barré Syndrome (GBS), a “rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves,” according to the Mayo Clinic, as side effects from receiving flu shots.
In 1976 a higher incidence of GBS was linked to people who received the swine flu vaccine, leading current vaccine manufacturers to include warnings and precautions in inserts urging people to weigh the risks and benefits before taking the vaccine, however medical facilities that dole out the shot seldom show those inserts to recipients.