CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s supposed to keep you from getting sick, but a far north suburban resident said he came down with a serious neurological disorder after being pressured by his bosses to get a flu shot.
Now Bill Werner has developed an adverse reaction to the shot and is struggling to walk.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports on his fight to get his company to accept responsibility.
Every step is a calculated move for Werner, but the 67-year-old truck driver said that, just six months ago he was in perfect health.
After an H1N1 shot, he had an adverse reaction to the vaccine and was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes the body’s own cells to attack themselves.
“I was like a vegetable. I mean … I couldn’t walk an inch. I was in a wheelchair,” Werner said.
It was the first time Werner had ever taken had a flu shot. He said he didn’t want to, but his bosses at Coral Chemical had hired a medical clinic to vaccinate every employee.
“It was pressure. You know, ‘It’s required,’” Werner said, adding that when he hears a boss say something is required, “It’s a must as far as I’m concerned.”
Company managers have denied the vaccine was required. They have and refused to pay Werner’s workman compensation benefits.
Werner has hired an attorney to fight his case. In the meantime, he’s going through rehab.
Dr. Raymond Roose, a neurologists who’s done extensive research on vaccines, said, “The benefits of the flu vaccine far outweigh the incidents of adverse affects.”
Roos said the chances of being hospitalized with complications from the flu are 200 in 1 million. The chances of dying from flu complications are 10 in 1 million. The chances of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome from the flu are one in a million.
“It might be one in a million, but what if you’re the (one) and you have to go through what I went through, it’s not worth it,” Werner said. “In my opinion it’s not worth it all.
You can recover from Guillian Barre, but it might take several months.
Werner has been forced to pay his own medical bills while he fights with his former employee, his insurance company and his union.
The president of Coral Chemical insisted the company did nothing wrong.
In a statement, he said they’ve been offering flu vaccines since the late 1990s and it’s always been voluntary.