Common and Rare Side Effects
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:
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)
Incidence not known
blue or pale skin
chest pain, possibly moving to the left arm, neck, or shoulder
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
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:
Abdominal or stomach pain
loss of appetite
Incidence not known
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.