A mother went blind in one eye and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis just weeks after getting the flu shot, she has claimed.
Jennifer Whitney, from Mukilteo, Washington, had the vaccine due to the insistence of her boss – despite being concerned about any side effects.
However, the same boss was forced to ‘let her go’ because she ended up taking too much time off to cope with the repercussions of the shot.
Tests revealed she had developed multiple sclerosis, which has no cure, and she was left blind for ten months as well as unable to have another child.
The mother-of-two’s naturopath claimed it was all down to her flu vaccine – despite an array of evidence claiming the shot is completely safe.
Ms Whitney’s case comes amid warnings of the worst flu outbreak in 50 years, which has prompted officials to urge the population to get vaccinated.
However, celebrities including Katie Hopkins and DJ Calvin Harris have fueled anti-vaccination theories by claiming it isn’t ineffective and a ‘neurotoxin’ shot.
But Ms Whitney, who may never recover after her brain was allegedly attacked by her own immune system during a two-year battle, is adamant the vaccines are unsafe.
She told MailOnline: ‘Some people tell me that I must be imagining it because they believe vaccines are safe, but that’s not the case.
‘I’m not imagining all these symptoms and I’m certainly not imagining how well I used to be. Whether I’ll ever be that well again, I don’t know.’
Jennifer Whitney, from Mukilteo, Washington, had the vaccine due to the insistence of her boss – despite being concerned about any side effects
Mrs Whitney was working as a manager of an optician’s when she was told she had to have the vaccine in 2015.
She wasn’t keen as she’d heard about people having bad reactions to vaccinations, but her boss wouldn’t take no for an answer.
‘As the manager, I felt pressurised into setting an example to the other employees,’ she said. ‘My boss encouraged everyone to get it.
‘I didn’t want to cause any arguments, so I went to the pharmacy in my lunch-hour and received my flu shot. Then I went back to work.’
Then, just days later, Mrs Whitney had a bad headache. The pain was accompanied by extreme dizziness.
Eventually, the headache subsided but days later, while she was at work, it returned with a vengeance.
However, the same boss was forced to ‘let her go’ because she ended up taking too much time off to cope with the repercussions of the shot (she was left with a rash after the shot)
This time, the dizziness was debilitating, preventing her seeing straight or working. That afternoon, she was sent home from work early.
MRS WHITNEY’S SIDE EFFECTS
Lesions in her brain
Reactions to MS medication
Infections from iv steroids
Life-threatening blood clot
Pain in her eyes
Blind in one eye for one month
Partially blind in the other for 10 months
Whole body pain
Numbness in her hands and feet
Loss of bladder control
‘I just about managed to drive home, but had to call my husband from the car to come and help me,’ Mrs Whitney said.
‘I was so weak, I couldn’t walk, so my husband had to carry me to our apartment. Once inside, he lay me down on the sofa.
‘Little did I know I’d be spending the next few weeks in that exact same spot.’
The next day, her symptoms hadn’t improved so her husband drove her to their doctor, who told her she was suffering from benign vertigo and that she should be fine in a day or so.
Mrs Whitney was baffled that the doctor couldn’t see how ill she was.
‘It was so bad,’ she said. ‘I even vomited in the sink in the surgery as he examined me. Yet he just sent me home with some medicine and some platitudes.’
She knew that what she was experiencing was more than just vertigo, so she went to see a chiropractor.
After a few minutes of treatment there though, the dizziness intensified, the nausea worsened and her head pain became unbearable.
The following day, she went to see another doctor who, after a quick examination had her rushed to hospital for an MRI scan.
‘The MRI was pretty awful as I was still spinning and my head was hurting,’ said Mrs Whitney. ‘But I got through it. Then came the bombshell.’
She was told she had developed multiple sclerosis.
The doctor explained how her immune system was attacking her brain and nervous system, which meant she needed immediate treatment.
Tests revealed she had developed multiple sclerosis, which has no cure, and she was left blind for ten months as well as infertile (pictured in hospital, hooked up to an IV drip)
CAN VACCINES CAUSE MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS?
Because the disease involves the immune system and vaccines work with the immune system, there’s been some conjecture as to whether there could be a connection between MS and vaccines.
Some scientific evidence seems to show that there’s no link between vaccines and MS.
In a study published in JAMA Neurology in 2014, an MS specialist reviewed the medical records of nearly 800 people who had been diagnosed with a demyelinating disorder of the brain or spinal cord between 2008 to 2011 and found no connection between vaccines and MS.
However, because not every single vaccine has been studied as a potential cause of MS, it’s not possible to completely rule out the link.
A report prepared by the Accelerate Cure Project Inc in 2008 s titled ‘Analysis of vaccinations as a possible cause of Multiple Sclerosis’, states: ‘Because vaccinations prime the immune system, and because immune factors are considered to play a major role in MS, it is conceivable that vaccination may therefore play a role in MS.’
In conclusion, the report says: ‘While it is biologically plausible for vaccinations to increase the risk of MS onset or disease activity, there is as yet no compelling evidence that any particular vaccination, or total number of vaccinations, strongly increases the risk of MS.
‘It is possible that certain vaccinations may slightly increase the risk of MS.
‘However, the percentage of people who receive any given vaccination and go on to develop MS is small in comparison with the total number vaccinated.’
The mother-of-two’s naturopath claimed it was all down to her flu vaccine – despite an array of evidence claiming the shot is completely safe
In the emergency room, she was given high-dose steroid infusions, designed to knock out her immune system.
While she was being dosed up, a neurologist explained her MRI results, explaining that there were several dozen lesions in her brain, that it was clear she’d somehow developed multiple sclerosis and that there was no cure.
‘I was so shocked,’ she said. ‘I’m a really healthy person and had never been off sick from work.
‘To have suddenly developed a serious, untreatable and incurable illness practically overnight was hard for me to comprehend.’
Within two weeks, Mrs Whitney was unable to stand and walk without assistance, but then she had another relapse.
These relapses started to occur about every six weeks.
Side effects of steroids
It wasn’t just the relapses that were disabling her though – the side-effects of the steroid infusions were adding to her problems.
And things became even worse when she started taking her MS medication.
‘I had a really bad reaction to the medication (Gilleniya) I was prescribed,’ recalled Mrs Whitney.
Mrs Whitney’s case comes amid warnings of the worst flu outbreak in 50 years (pictured with her unnamed husband)
Mrs Whitney was working as a manager of an optician’s when she was told she had to have the vaccine by her boss in 2015
1,000 IN HOSPITAL, 133 DEAD… THAT’S WHY WE DO THIS
Dr Ellie Cannon, The Mail on Sunday’s resident GP
Dr Ellie Cannon, The Mail on Sunday’s resident GP, wrote in a piece for the paper in October: ‘It’s a dangerous misconception that flu is like a bad cold.
‘Last winter, more than 1,000 Britons were in intensive care due to the virus. And 133 died.
‘Children are chosen for vaccination not only because they are super-spreaders of the virus but also because they are known to be high-risk: children aged under five are more likely to be hospitalised due to flu than any other age group.
‘The notion that a hardy child will be fine and doesn’t need to opt for preventative measures is a further misunderstanding. It is something I have heard anti-flu-vaccination parents say many times.
‘Whether or not you contract a virus is not simply due to your strength and physical resilience.
‘It is also a numbers game where you contract an infection due to high circulating numbers of a virus, and the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
‘My son Jude was a fit-as-a-fiddle eight-year-old – when he got meningitis. It had little to do with robustness, more to do with circulating viruses and luck.
‘I do understand the “why fix what isn’t broken” argument. But one could put that argument to all preventative health care and therefore miss out on the vast benefits it brings. Kids are vaccinated against a whole range of long-forgotten diseases, as well as those they are more likely to catch.
‘Part of the resistance is because vaccinations fall foul of a huge number of spurious claims of online groups and pseudo health experts.
‘Only last week I was embroiled in a Twitter spat with the musician Calvin Harris – with 12.5 million Twitter followers compared to my modest 15,000 – who alleged flu vaccines contain toxic mercury.
‘This is another misconception, driven by a misunderstanding of the science. Some flu vaccines contain thimerosal preservative, a non-toxic compound related to mercury that has been proven to harmlessly pass through the body. The children’s flu nasal spray we use today doesn’t contain it.
‘Parents should be allowed to give informed consent for all treatment. I am afraid that we are not always getting the informed part right.’
Doctors explained how her immune system was attacking her brain and nervous system, which meant she needed immediate treatment
WILL THIS YEAR’S FLU VACCINE WORK?
A study in November found H3N2, the same strain which blighted Australia and caused an influx of cases during their winter, has mutated.
Scientists blamed the 70-year-old manufacturing process of the vaccine, warning it has allowed the aggressive strain to escape detection.
The findings, based on last year’s shot, echo the beliefs that this year’s vaccine isn’t strong enough to fight the aggressive strain.
University of Pennsylvania researchers found that last year’s shot, created by the World Health Organization, had between 20-30 per cent effectiveness.
The mutation did not show up in the mass-produced vaccine, said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
‘My skin broke out in blisters all over my body. I reported this to my neurologist, who called me back in for tests for lupus which is a rare side-effect of Gilleniya.’
The blood tests revealed that she did not have lupus but her neurologist decided to take her off the medication anyway.
It would be a while before she could be recommended another.
After stopping the medication, she had another relapse.
Her hair started to fall out and her skin was damaged and her arm had become infected from the intravenous steroids.
Not only that, but the infection had allegedly caused a life-threatening blood clot.
Fortunately, this was treated successfully with antibiotics, but she decided at that point not to have any more steroid infusions.
Unable to work
Throughout this whole experience, Mrs Whitney was still struggling into work every day.
But one morning, while she was trying to fix some glasses, her hands started shaking and wouldn’t stop.
Mrs Whitney’s right eye remained blind for an entire month (pictured with her husband and her two daughters, who aren’t named but are now 10 and 14 respectively)
The shaking got so bad, her boss sent her home. A week later, he called her.
‘He told me he needed to “let me go”, that he felt awful about it, but that he needed a manager and I was taking too much time off.’
Did the shot affect her vision?
Shortly after the call, she claims she developed a searing pain in both eyes.
Mrs Whitney immediately got in touch with her neurologist, who told her it was unlikely to be anything serious.
In desperation, she called her old boss – a qualified eye doctor – who told her that she could have optic neuritis and that the only way to stop it would be by taking more steroids, something she knew she couldn’t do.
‘Over the next couple of days, I went totally blind in my right eye,’ said Mrs Whitney. ‘I also went partially blind in my left eye.
My right eye remained blind for an entire month and my left eye was partially blind for about ten months. After that time, my vision started to improve again.’
Her concerns over the vaccine
Once she’d regained her sight, Mrs Whitney started looking into the flu vaccine.
On the advice of a friend, Mrs Whitney visited a naturopath – who allegedly declined to comment because he was scared of being killed for talking to the press
CALVIN HARRIS’ WAR OF WORDS
Calvin Harris claimed the flu shot is a ‘neurotoxin shot’ in October
Government health officials attacked superstar Calvin Harris after he controversially claimed the flu shot is a ‘neurotoxin shot’ in October.
The Scottish DJ, who had 12.7 million followers on Twitter at the time, became embroiled in a row on the social media site after telling them the vaccine contains mercury.
His false allegations were dismissed by various experts, including Mail on Sunday’s resident GP Dr Ellie Cannon, with whom he engaged in a war of words. The posts have since been deleted.
Angry doctors were concerned that his claims may deter millions from getting the flu shot – leaving them vulnerable to the dreaded Aussie flu outbreak that is expected to blight the UK in the coming weeks.
Richard Pebody, acting head of respiratory disease at Public Health England, has also addressed the truth behind 33-year-old Harris’ incorrect claims.
She discovered that the flu shot was incredibly dangerous and that it was one of the vaccines most compensated for injury in ‘vaccine court’.
Experts are scared of talking
On the advice of a friend, Mrs Whitney visited a naturopath – who allegedly declined to comment because he was scared of being killed for talking to the press.
‘He examined me and said that it was highly likely that the flu shot had caused my conditions, both the MS, the temporary blindness and the drug hypersensitivity,’ she said.
‘He also said that it was very common for the flu shot to cause neurological damage and, consequently, autoimmune disease.’
The naturopath gave her several blood tests and discovered that the steroid infusions had destroyed her white blood cells.
It also damaged her liver so badly she needed to immediately treat it with weekly vitamin infusions and bee venom therapy, as well as supplements and dietary changes.
‘He also told me that I was now infertile. I’m just glad I had my children when I did,’ added Mrs Whitney, whose daughters are now 10 and 14.
‘My husband and I were hoping the diagnosis of infertility is wrong and have been trying for a baby but, to date, nothing’s happened.
‘I didn’t have any problem getting pregnant before and we’re both sure it’s not happening because of the jab.’
Still suffering two years later…
Two years on and Mrs Whitney is still suffering – with debilitating headaches, whole body pain, muscle spasms, numbness in her hands and feet and chronic fatigue.
She also suffers from unsteady walking, vertigo, anxiety, depression, loss of bladder control, bowel issues, skin problems and drug hypersensitivity.
Mrs Whitney also experiences intermittent blindness in one or both eyes.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: ‘The UK flu vaccination programme has an excellent safety record and protects millions of children and adults against flu and prevents its spread to the most vulnerable in the community.
‘Over 10 million doses have been given to adults each year in the UK since 2000.’
An MHRA spokesperson said: ‘Every year, millions of people in the UK are vaccinated against flu and an illness occurring after vaccination does not necessarily mean the vaccine was the cause.
‘MS is a condition that occurs naturally. Several large studies have found no evidence of an association between vaccination, including flu vaccines, and development of MS.
‘As with all vaccines and medicines, MHRA keeps the safety of influenza vaccines under close and continual review.’
Two years on and Mrs Whitney is still suffering with headaches, whole body pain, muscle spasms, numbness in her hands and feet and chronic fatigue (pictured after just giving birth)
AUSSIE FLU: THE FACTS
Some of Australia’s A&E units had ‘standing room only’ after being swamped by more than 100,000 cases of the H3N2 strain.
Official figures are yet to confirm how many people have lost their lives to this year’s outbreak, but 370 deaths have been reported so far.
The elderly with their compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible, and a spike in cases among young children has also been shown.
Professor Paul Van Buynder, chair of Australia’s Immunisation Coalition, previously said it was the ‘largest outbreak we’ve seen for some time’.
The flu season in the UK and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere tends to mirror what has happened in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.
The same strains of the virus will circulate north in time for the British flu season, which typically begins in November and lasts until March.
But there are concerns the vaccine, made by World Health Organisation scientists, will prove to be ineffective as it will not match the H3N2 strain.
Scientists create the vaccines in March, based on which flu strains they expect to be in circulation. They are then given out in September.
Some health experts in Australia have blamed the severe outbreak on it having mutated. The vaccine used in the UK will be very similar.