Flu shot controversy: The danger vs. the benefit - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Flu shot controversy: The danger vs. the benefit

Posted: Updated:

Flu shots will likely save thousands of lives this year.

They may also permanently paralyze people.

It’s a paradox that plays out every flu season, the need to vaccinate the masses at the expense of a few who will unexpectedly suffer irreparable injury from a bad reaction to the vaccine.

Lt Col. Tim Gardipee served 32 years in the army, in 20 countries and in five war zones.

"I had a busy life,” he says. “I had a business.  I was teaching soldiers.  I had a family.  I had lots."

But lots have changed since then.

"Being completely paralyzed from the neck down was quite a shock.  A startling shock.  Yes sir," says Gardipee.

It wasn't an IED or a bullet that took Lt. Col. Gardipee’s ability to walk.  It was a different kind of shot.

A standard flu shot that 123-million Americans get every year.

"you run a risk every time somebody sticks something in your body and challenges your immune system you can get a bad reaction," says Richard Gage.

Gage is one of the top vaccine injury attorneys in the country.  He says he's not anti-vaccine - - he has his own children vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella and many other afflictions.  But not the flu.

"I see the bad reactions and what it does to people's lives and how it ruins people's lives," says Gage.

To put this into perspective the Centers for Disease Control estimates only one to two people per million doses gets a "severe reaction" from the flu shot - - anything from extreme fatigue to paralysis. That’s about 200 Americans every year.  It's enough for the industry to include paralysis as one of the risks on the package insert for the vaccine. 

Pam Whitney with the Missoula County Health Department says getting a flu shot isn't just for you, it's for those who can't get immunized.  It’s called herd immunity.  If most of us get immunized, the flu can't effectively spread to infants and others who can't get immunized.  You might think, I’d rather get the flu and not risk paralysis.  But Whitney says, “You'll be spreading it to the other people, who really can't protect themselves.  And it may kill an infant who gets Influenza."

And millions of American like Deputy Robert Parcell line up every year to get the flu shot without incident.

"It’s so rare,” says Parcell.  “And the chances of the flu causing you more problems are probably greater."

Lt. Col. Gardipee got the flu shot safely numerous times before he had a reaction. Medical professionals say there's no way of knowing who will have a reaction to the shot, but they stress that the risk is very low. If get the shot and get anything from fever to muscle pain to hives, you should notify your doctor.

Life may be harder now for Lt. Col Gardipee, but he says he still has a life.

"You are here for a purpose,” he says. “And my purpose is to teach others to carry on.  There’s rehab, there's a life worth living.

About 420 Americans file suit every year claiming they've been injured by flu shot. Patients win about half of those cases.  But their payout comes from taxes, not the pharmaceutical companies. The pharma companies can’t be sued.  Congress gave them immunity in 1986 setting up a special court after big pharma threatened to stop making vaccines because they were getting sued for vaccine injuries and they say, losing too much money.

We should stress, to put the odds of having a severe reaction to a flu shot into perspective, they are the same as being struck by lightning.

  • StatewideMore>>

  • Billings Clinic warns of heart attack risks when shoveling snow

    Billings Clinic warns of heart attack risks when shoveling snow

    Thursday, December 14 2017 2:29 PM EST2017-12-14 19:29:26 GMT

    Billings Clinic hands out more than one hundred stickers at hardware stores across Billings to raise awareness about the health risks shoveling snow can pose. 

    Billings Clinic hands out more than one hundred stickers at hardware stores across Billings to raise awareness about the health risks shoveling snow can pose. 

  • 'Move-In Day' for incoming University of Montana President Seth Bodnar

    'Move-In Day' for incoming University of Montana President Seth Bodnar

    It was 'Move-In Day' for the incoming president of the University of Montana and his family. Seth Bodnar and his wife, Chelsea, along with their three children arrived in Missoula from Chicago on Monday and have been staying with Chelsea's parents, who live in Missoula.

    It was 'Move-In Day' for the incoming president of the University of Montana and his family. Seth Bodnar and his wife, Chelsea, along with their three children arrived in Missoula from Chicago on Monday and have been staying with Chelsea's parents, who live in Missoula.

  • Dense fog slows traffic on Interstate 90 near Belgrade

    Dense fog slows traffic on Interstate 90 near Belgrade

    Thursday, December 14 2017 12:05 PM EST2017-12-14 17:05:58 GMT

    BOZEMAN- Authorities in Bozeman are reporting dense fog and stalled traffic on Interstate 90 near Belgrade. There’s too much fog for a good picture of all the stopped traffic. 

    BOZEMAN- Authorities in Bozeman are reporting dense fog and stalled traffic on Interstate 90 near Belgrade. There’s too much fog for a good picture of all the stopped traffic. 

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Crime victim advocate announces support for Hauck

    Crime victim advocate announces support for Hauck

    Wednesday, December 13 2017 7:19 PM EST2017-12-14 00:19:13 GMT

    MISSOULA- The re-hiring of Bobby Hauck as the head coach of the Montana Grizzlies is continuing to cause controversy. Earlier this month, UM grad student and football fan Lisa Davey created a Change.org petition against Hauck’s hiring, saying he didn’t hold Griz players accountable during his first tenure and contributed to an atmosphere of sexual assault. Davey’s petition said, “Women are more important than winning.” More than 30 UM faculty members al...

    MISSOULA- The re-hiring of Bobby Hauck as the head coach of the Montana Grizzlies is continuing to cause controversy. Earlier this month, UM grad student and football fan Lisa Davey created a Change.org petition against Hauck’s hiring, saying he didn’t hold Griz players accountable during his first tenure and contributed to an atmosphere of sexual assault. Davey’s petition said, “Women are more important than winning.” More than 30 UM faculty members al...

  • Police seek former tenant of property where bones turned up

    Police seek former tenant of property where bones turned up

    Wednesday, December 13 2017 6:51 PM EST2017-12-13 23:51:23 GMT

    MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - The Latest on the bones of three children being found in a shed in Missoula (all times local):    4:15 p.m.    Law enforcement officers in western Montana have a person they want to interview after a box containing the bones and teeth of three children were found in the shed of a Missoula home in September.    A cleaning crew found the box when a tenant was evicted from the property.    Missoula Police Sgt. Travis Welsh to...

    MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - The Latest on the bones of three children being found in a shed in Missoula (all times local):    4:15 p.m.    Law enforcement officers in western Montana have a person they want to interview after a box containing the bones and teeth of three children were found in the shed of a Missoula home in September.    A cleaning crew found the box when a tenant was evicted from the property.    Missoula Police Sgt. Travis Welsh to...

  • 'Move-In Day' for incoming University of Montana President Seth Bodnar

    'Move-In Day' for incoming University of Montana President Seth Bodnar

    It was 'Move-In Day' for the incoming president of the University of Montana and his family. Seth Bodnar and his wife, Chelsea, along with their three children arrived in Missoula from Chicago on Monday and have been staying with Chelsea's parents, who live in Missoula.

    It was 'Move-In Day' for the incoming president of the University of Montana and his family. Seth Bodnar and his wife, Chelsea, along with their three children arrived in Missoula from Chicago on Monday and have been staying with Chelsea's parents, who live in Missoula.

  • Injuries reported in multi-vehicle crashes on I-90 near Belgrade

    Injuries reported in multi-vehicle crashes on I-90 near Belgrade

    BOZEMAN- Montana Highway Patrol is on scene of a multi vehicle crash on Interstate 90 near Belgrade at mile post 300. The Montana Department of Transportation also reports another crash at mile post 299 also on Interstate 90 at the Belgrade Airport Interchange.  

    BOZEMAN- Montana Highway Patrol is on scene of a multi vehicle crash on Interstate 90 near Belgrade at mile post 300. The Montana Department of Transportation also reports another crash at mile post 299 also on Interstate 90 at the Belgrade Airport Interchange.  

  • Landmark Kalispell restaurant moves locations on Main Street

    Landmark Kalispell restaurant moves locations on Main Street

    Thursday, December 14 2017 11:41 AM EST2017-12-14 16:41:05 GMT

    KALISPELL- ScottiBelli's announces they're moving to a newly purchased location at 302 South Main street.  This is just two blocks from their current location. According to a release emailed to Montana newsrooms, 

    KALISPELL- ScottiBelli's announces they're moving to a newly purchased location at 302 South Main street.  This is just two blocks from their current location. According to a release emailed to Montana newsrooms, 

Powered by Frankly
Copyright - All content © 2001 - 2017. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.