The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting an uptick in the number of patients experiencing convulsions and other complications after taking FluMist, a nasal spray vaccine. In the first two weeks of the current flu season, 544 FluMist patients reported adverse effects, according to the CDC. The number of people with reporting complications was up from 2017 to the same time period.
Patients who have reported complications include neurologists, nurses, veterinarians, and other healthcare professionals who had to be hospitalized for observation, according to a letter sent to state health officials in September by Howard Frumkin, a neurologist at the University of Chicago Medicine. According to the letter, “the reporter is a pharmacist who has observed a number of neurologic manifestations in the patient with FluMist. The neurologic manifestations include difficulties in feeding and walking, slurred speech, and physical tremors and turns.”
Frumkin acknowledged that “the risk of potential severe adverse events associated with FluMist vaccines remains low.” However, he added that “it is important for healthcare providers, pharmacy technicians, patients, and parents to be aware of the possibility of severe neurological events with this vaccine.”
In a statement issued Friday, FluMist manufacturer, AstraZeneca, said that the spike in reported adverse events was “not unexpected given that many medical professionals have their own experience with this product and recognize the higher rate of temporary, and temporary-related complications.” It continued, “We’re working closely with health officials to address the situations reported and ask that patients, health care providers, and healthcare facilities carefully review any reports of adverse events they may have received in the course of treating flu patients.”
The flu, also known as the “flu season,” is one of the biggest health threats of the year. It has traditionally led to severe illness and death among the elderly, children, and people with conditions such as heart disease and lung conditions. Vaccination is one of the best and most efficient ways to protect against the flu.
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