Cheerleader gets flu shot, now only walks backwards

Posted Oct 24, 2009 by Kevin Jess
A simple flu shot has turned a cheerleader's life into a nightmare. Ten days after receiving the shot, she came down with a severe debilitating neurological disorder.
Desiree Jennings and her husband
Desiree Jennings and her husband
Screen shot YouTube/Fox News video
Desiree Jennings, 25, of Ashburn, Virginia was a professional football cheerleader for the Washington Redskins, but she says the seasonal flu shot she received this past August has ruined her chance of having any happiness in her life.
Doctors say that she has a rare neurological disorder, that started just a few days after her seasonal flu shot.
The first symptom, she says, was that whenever she tried to eat, she would pass out, and then eventually she started to have twisted movements when she walked or stayed still.
The weird thing about Ms. Jennings condition is that she can walk backwards with no spasms. She must also walk up and down stairs backwards, as it is too dangerous for her to walk forward.
She is also able to run normally, and can even talk while she's running, something that is very difficult for her to do otherwise.
Her doctors say she is suffering from dystonia, a rare side effect of seasonal flu vaccinations for which there is no cure, but in a Fox News interview, Leigh Vinocur, M.D., of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said her condition may possibly be "psychogenic", meaning it isn't caused by the vaccine.
This comes at a time when the U.S. government is attempting to calm concerns that people have with getting a flu shot this season.
According to Fox News, recent polling shows that 44 per cent of those asked in October plan on getting this years vaccination. That number is down from 53 per cent in September.
In a statement to Generation Rescue, Ms. Jennings said she would like people to think carefully, educate themselves on vaccine side effects and to look seriously at natural remedies for flu and H1N1 before they accept a seasonal flu shot.