In 1976, a number of people who received the “swine flu” influenza vaccine developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), which is a disease that may cause paralysis. Most of these people were over 25 years of age. Although only 10 out of every one million people who received the vaccine actually developed GBS, this number was 6 times higher than would normally have been expected. Most of the people who got GBS recovered completely.
It is assumed that the “swine flu” virus included in the 1976 vaccine caused the problem, but this has not been proven. Since that time, the “swine flu” virus has not been used in influenza vaccines, and there has been no recurrence of GBS that was associated with influenza vaccinations.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:More common
- Decreased appetite
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Tiredness or weakness
- Pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
- Redness or swelling in the ear
- Shortness of breath or troubled breathing
- Tightness of the chest or wheezing
- Difficulty with breathing or swallowing
- Itching, especially of the feet or hands
- Reddening of the skin, especially around the ears
- Swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
- Unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)
- Bloody nose
- Blue or pale skin
- Chest pain, possibly moving to the left arm, neck, or shoulder
- Fast heartbeat
- General feeling of illness
- Inability to move the arms and legs
- Joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
- Puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- Severe headache
- Skin rash
- Stiff neck and/or back
- Sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
- Swelling or puffiness of the face
- Unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
- Weakness of the muscles in your face
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:More common
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.