Managing Editor's Note: Below is a sobering reminder that vaccination is a medical intervention, and not a mass market, dime store purchase. Our heartfelt condolences to Chandler's family. We hope they get answers from authorities and that Chandler's death is not in vain.
By Anne Dachel
A recent tragedy in Utah should make the public ask what health officials actually know about vaccine reactions. It also raises the question of just how far are they willing to go to protect the vaccine program. A number of news outlets in Utah reported that a healthy 19 year old young man went to his doctor for a physical on October 15. He received a flu vaccine and a test for TB and by the next day he was seriously ill with vomiting and a severe headache. Twenty-four hours later he was in a coma and 28 days later, after life support was removed, he died.
In a story in the Salt Lake Tribune on November 24, the subheading read: "Doctors can't explain the brain swelling that led to his death; mom says autopsy isn't needed."
"Chandler Webb's direct cause of death was swelling of the brain, his mother said."
"Though scientists nationwide staunchly support vaccines and their important role in public health, they have become a topic of some controversy in recent years. Lori Webb said she was aware of such concerns before her son became ill, though she chose to get a flu vaccine two years ago.
"One of her son's doctors said a reaction like her son's was possible after a flu vaccination, and he attempted unsuccessfully to treat it, she said."
At the same time the Utah Desert News published their story about Chandler Webb's death, Utah woman claims flu shot caused teenage son's death, in which health officials denied that a vaccine can cause encephalopathy.
"Utah Department of Health officials did not go into specifics about the case, though a spokesman said the department was aware of the case.
"Another state health official late Friday offered a statement.
"'Our epidemiology staff have commented that although they have no evidence of a flu vaccine, or any other kind of vaccine, causing this type of reaction/outcome, they take these reports very seriously and they are thoroughly investigated by the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),' the statement read."
KLS-TV in Salt Lake said the same thing.
This was stunning information from health officials. Encephalopathy is indeed an accepted vaccine reaction. A quick online search of official websites shows it's true.
This is what is on the official HHS website. They say encephalopathy is a possible reaction to vaccination.
(2) Encephalopathy. For purposes of paragraph (a) of this section, a vaccine recipient shall be considered to have suffered an encephalopathy only if such recipient manifests, within the applicable period, an injury meeting the description below of an acute encephalopathy, and then a chronic encephalopathy persists in such person for more than 6 months beyond the date of vaccination.
(i) An acute encephalopathy is one that is sufficiently severe so as to require hospitalization (whether or not hospitalization occurred).
(A) For children less than 18 months of age who present without an associated seizure event, an acute encephalopathy is indicated by a significantly decreased level of consciousness lasting for at least 24 hours. Those children less than 18 months of age who present following a seizure shall be viewed as having an acute encephalopathy if their significantly decreased level of consciousness persists beyond 24 hours and cannot be attributed to a postictal state (seizure) or medication.
(B) For adults and children 18 months of age or older, an acute encephalopathy is one that persists for at least 24 hours and characterized by at least two of the following:
(1) A significant change in mental status that is not medication related; specifically a confusional state, or a delirium, or a psychosis;
(2) A significantly decreased level of consciousness, which is independent of a seizure and cannot be attributed to the effects of medication; and
(3) A seizure associated with loss of consciousness.
(C) Increased intracranial pressure may be a clinical feature of acute encephalopathy in any age group.
(D) A "significantly decreased level of consciousness" is indicated by the presence of at least one of the following clinical signs for at least 24 hours or greater (see paragraphs (b)(2)(i)(A) and (b)(2)(i)(B) of this section for applicable timeframes):
(1) Decreased or absent response to environment (responds, if at all, only to loud voice or painful stimuli);
(2) Decreased or absent eye contact (does not fix gaze upon family members or other individuals); or
(3) Inconsistent or absent responses to external stimuli (does not recognize familiar people or things).
(E) The following clinical features alone, or in combination, do not demonstrate an acute encephalopathy or a significant change in either mental status or level of consciousness as described above: Sleepiness, irritability (fussiness), high-pitched and unusual screaming, persistent inconsolable crying, and bulging fontanelle. Seizures in themselves are not sufficient to constitute a diagnosis of encephalopathy. In the absence of other evidence of an acute encephalopathy, seizures shall not be viewed as the first symptom or manifestation of the onset of an acute encephalopathy.
(ii) Chronic Encephalopathy occurs when a change in mental or neurologic status, first manifested during the applicable time period, persists for a period of at least 6 months from the date of vaccination. Individuals who return to a normal neurologic state after the acute encephalopathy shall not be presumed to have suffered residual neurologic damage from that event; any subsequent chronic encephalopathy shall not be presumed to be a sequela of the acute encephalopathy. If a preponderance of the evidence indicates that a child's chronic encephalopathy is secondary to genetic, prenatal or perinatal factors, that chronic encephalopathy shall not be considered to be a condition set forth in the Table.
This is from the FDA:
Neurological disorders temporally associated with influenza vaccination such as
209 encephalopathy, optic neuritis/neuropathy, partial facial paralysis, and brachial plexus
210 neuropathy have been reported.
Barbara Loe Fisher, President and co-founder of National Vaccine Information Center, had this to say about the link between vaccines and encephalopathy.
"I don't think that most adults or parents are aware that vaccines, including flu shots, can cause brain inflammation and death. The most well documented and feared complication of vaccination, starting with smallpox and rabies vaccines, has been brain inflammation (encephalitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), acute encephalopathy) and that serious vaccine side effect can lead to mild or severe chronic neurological dysfunction that may be labeled by doctors as multiple learning disabilities, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, afebrile seizure disorders, Guillain Barre Syndrome, mental retardation, etc. Brain inflammation can also end in death."
"Encephalopathy is the causation centerpiece of the Table of Compensable Events in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) created by Congress in 1986 under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and adjudicated in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The majority of the cases awarded compensation in the VICP have involved brain inflammation following receipt of DPT/DTaP, influenza, MMR or hepatitis B vaccinations. The number one most compensated child claim in the VICP is for acute brain inflammation and chronic neurological dysfunction or death following DPT vaccinations and the number one most compensated adult claim is for acute brain inflammation and chronic neurological dysfunction or death following influenza vaccinations."
See references anchoring the above comment here:
Also see, Vaccination During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?
Many people seem to blindly accept that vaccines are safe and doctors are informed about vaccine reactions. In April, 2011, the NVIC put out this report and video about the medical community: Doctors Denying Vaccine Risks: An American Tragedy. Barbara Loe Fisher specifically talked about encephalopathy.
Heartbreaking events like what happened in Utah should be a wakeup call about the need for better vaccine safety oversight and about informing the public about possible vaccine reactions. It shouldn't be just another case of denying the obvious.
Annew Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.