H1N1 Flu Vaccine Linked to Life-Threatening Muscle Disorder, Other Side Effects
Some people who have received the vaccine for the H1N1 â€œswine fluâ€ virus have developed a potentially fatal muscle disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) and other serious side effects.
Since the vaccine was unveiled in October, federal health officials say there have been six confirmed cases of GBS in patients following the shots. Officials are still working to confirm a link between the disease and the vaccine.
GBS results in a patientâ€™s immune system attacking the nerves, which can cause muscle weakness, paralysis, and even death. The disease also has been reported in some girls and young women given the vaccine Gardasil to guard against common causes of cervical cancer.
There have been at least 1,700 reports of adverse events associated with the H1N1 flu vaccinations, but only four percent of those reports were â€œserious,â€ health officials said. Still, the true number of GBS cases linked to the H1N1 shots may be under-reported, meaning many more cases of the disorder may be happening.
During the 1976 swine flu outbreak, U.S. officials also saw an increase in the rate of GBS in people receiving the shots, but they say itâ€™s still too early to know if the current vaccinations will cause a similar spike in the disease.