SANDY, Utah (CBS Las Vegas) – A mother claims that her 19-year-old son died from an adverse reaction to an influenza vaccination he received as part of a routine physical.
Lori Webb’s son, Chandler Webb, got a physical examination, including a flu shot because he decided to go on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But shortly after getting the flu shot, he fell ill and spent roughly a month in a coma before passing away Tuesday.
His mother told The Salt Lake Tribune that the direct cause of death was swelling of the brain.
“We’re angry because we believe it’s the flu shot that [caused] it,” Webb told the newspaper.
Webb decided to decline an autopsy because she feels that a pending brain biopsy is sufficient enough to determine a cause of death.
“I’ve never been so scared in all my life to see my son go through so much,” she shared with the newspaper.
Doctors at Intermountain Medical Center tested her son for numerous illnesses including Lyme disease, the West Nile virus and even sexually transmitted diseases. They couldn’t find what caused him to fall ill.
A hospital spokesperson told The Salt Lake Tribune that the doctors cannot speak about individual cases because it’s against the law.
Millions of people get the flu shot each year, but serious adverse reactions to the flu shot are extremely rare. The state health department does not have any record of anyone in the state having an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
“Like with other medical procedures, there can be side effects and adverse reactions,” Utah Department of Health spokesman Tom Hudachko explained to the newspaper. “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.”
Before falling ill, Webb’s son was a regular in the gym. She told the newspaper that her son was vomiting, had headaches, chills and was shaking for a week before he was admitted to the emergency room. Shortly after, he fell into a coma never waking up again.
Webb cut her sons’ hair one last time and told him the story of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” when he was taken off life support, the newspaper reported.
“I can’t describe how hard it is to lose a child,” she said. “We can’t wrap our heads around this… it’s so bizarre.”