Mom Says Flu Shot Reason Healthy Teen Son Is Dead

Heartbreaking 80

flu shotI'm not an advocate for the HPV vaccine -- at this time there is no way I would allow my children to get it. But the flu shot? I'm a bit more lenient about. However, my kids do not get the flu shot, but I have. After hearing about a 19-year-year who died after battling an illness his mother believes was caused by getting the flu shot, I'm thinking more about it, and worrying more.

Lori Webb's teenage son Chandler got the flu vaccination on October 15th and the very next day he started getting adverse reactions. Side effects from getting the flu shot often happen, but severe illness and death is extremely rare. But what exactly happened to cause this otherwise healthy 19-year-old to slip into a coma and die a little over a month after getting the vax?

Chandler Webb was a very active teen -- he went to the gym, was in great shape, and was about to embark on a mission with the Church of Jesus Christ for Latter-Day Saints. He got the flu shot and started feeling very ill. He had terrible headaches, chills, uncontrollable shaking, and was vomiting. After a few days of this, he was admitted to the Intermountain Medical Center in Utah. Within 24 hours, Chandler slipped into a coma and never woke up.

Specialists performed many tests looking to see exactly what was ailing him -- they ruled out things like West Nile, Lyme disease, STDs and there were no answers. It's so terribly sad that they ran out of time before Webb succumbed to his mystery illness. The direct cause of death is listed as swelling of the brain. But what caused the brain swelling in a healthy 19-year-old?

Chandler's mom declined an autopsy but there is a brain biopsy that is pending and they are hoping to have some answers. She however said, "We’re angry because we believe it’s the flu shot that [caused] it. I’ve never been so scared in all my life to see my son go through so much." My heart breaks for her. I cannot even begin to imagine what she has gone through. I really hope she gets answers and that perhaps that will help her in some small way.

Tom Hudachko is Utah's Department of Health spokesman and he hasn't commented much directly on this case, but did say, "Like with other medical procedures, there can be side effects and adverse reactions. In the vast majority of those cases the side effects are not very severe — soreness at the injection site, low fever, achiness. Occasionally, yes, there are more severe side effects from receiving the vaccine." Is protecting yourself from the flu worth the small risk of getting the shot?

Given these details, I believe I would feel exactly like Lori Webb does. I would believe that the flu shot had something to do with Chandler's death. A mother's intuition is often right. I've done the research, and based on that, and hearing this story, I will not be vaccinating my kids at this time. I truly hope there is a large-scale investigation going on.

The touching details of Chandler's last moments are gut-wrenching. Chandler was taken off life support and his mother cut his hair for the last time. She told him the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, a tale she's told him since he was just a baby. And he passed.

Lori says she won't ever get another flu shot, though is stopping short of telling others to not get vaccinated. Instead she encourages everyone to read the labels, learn about the side effects, and make their own decision based on that. On losing her child, Lori said it something she just cannot describe. I wish it was something that she and anyone who has ever lost a child wouldn't have to.

My thoughts are with the Webb family.

How do you feel about the flu shot? Does this story make you not want to vaccinate your children?


Image via Michael Galpert/Flickr

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Einyn Einyn

Why decline an autopsy then?

nonmember avatar Rory G

Actually, mothers intuition isn't often right when it comes to something like this. Jenny McCarthy is a good example of a mother who relied on her intuition and is still, to this day, way, way off. And even IF this vaccine caused his death (way to spread fear and hysteria prior to the brain biopsy results, too. Nice that you can't undo the hysteria this will likely cause), it's like a one in a million issue, right? So probably not vaccinating your children as a result of this is a very foolish choice.

Sarah... SarahHall58

If she really cared and really wanted to get to the bottom of this, she would have opted for an autopsy. That's really the key in finding out what happened. I seriously doubt it's the flu shot that caused this. Highly highly doubt it. She wants something to blame. People can't just get sick and die without people needing someone to blame.

Katha... Katharine205

Shouldn't there be a little science done here before we automatically assume it was the vaccine?  My daughter had the flu vaccine and will continue to do so.  Not interested in what someone with no medical degree assumes.

nonmember avatar shandeigh

The truth is there's no reason for a healthy person to get a flu vaccine unless they are regularly around someone who is immunocompromised. But to pay for the vaccine... they have to talk healthy people into getting it. It's all about the money.

lovem... lovemyson1224

While I can understand the mothers reaction we need to remember the importance of vaccines. The 1918 spanish influenza outbreak infected roughly 500 million people and killed up to 100 million of them. My great uncle died of it. Too bad an autopsy wasn't performed but that is her decision and should be respected.

nonmember avatar April

So...this article is basically just needless fear mongering. No tests results are back yet, which means that any theory blaming the shot for this kid's death is completely baseless. Don't get me wrong...maybe it was the shot. And if/when there's evidence to prove that, Ms. Zipp should blog away. Until then, she should think about exercising responsibility and avoiding sensationalism.

nonmember avatar andie

They should have performed an autopsy. Yeah lovemyson1224, it was the mother's choice and I do respect that, but then she can't blame the flu shot. If she really wanted to know what killed him, she should have consented to an autopsy. Very sad, either way.

nonmember avatar randi

Exactly what April said ^

Daisy... DaisyJupes

The number of people who die from vaccines is significantly less than those who would die from the illness should they not receive the vaccine. It's generally safer to receive a vaccine than to chance going without.

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