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July 2, 1973

Hazard of Influenza Vaccine In Neurologic Patients

JAMA. 1973;225(1):63-64. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220280051023

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To the Editor.—  For many years the use of vaccines and immunization in certain neurologic cases, especially of demyelinating disease, has been controversial. The consensus of neurologists is that immunization procedures can be hazardous in cases that might involve altered immune mechanisms such as multiple sclerosis.Apparently, many public health authorities and pharmaceutical companies mislead practicing physicians into thinking that immunization procedures are generally safe and proper for patients with chronic debilitating neurological disease. Actually, the contrary would appear to be the case.I recently reviewed a patient who had recovered from a single attack of retrobulbar neuritis in 1961, had functioned as an executive secretary for a major insurance company without physical disability until 1968 when she received an injection of influenza vaccine, and shortly thereafter became blind and quadriplegic. She has since made a partial recovery but has been left paraplegic with bladder incontinence and only partial use