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I have a question- I have had a j-pouch for 28 years now.  I had ulcerative colitis, was working in a hospital, so I got the flu shot.  The very next day after getting the flu shot, I got ILL!  I am talking about high fever, diarrhea, severe abdominal pains.  My colitis had been under control but this brought on a major flare, which long story short- ended me in the hospital with toxic megacolon, which lead to total colectomy and eventually my j-pouch.  The doctors could not say for sure if the flu shot did not cause my body to attack itself, which caused the toxic megacolon.  I have never and will never get another flu shot because of this.  Now I am SCARED to get the Covid vaccine.   I know vaccines are different now than 28 years ago, but I can't get over this fear.  I know I will eventually have to get it.  Help - what should I do?  Talk to the doctor?  I know he is going to say to get the vaccine.   

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I can understand why you'd be wary of flu shots and vaccinations in general. Depending on your relationship with your doctor you might be able to have a more helpful discussion about the COVID-19 vaccination than you imagine. In any case, perhaps it's more useful to compare getting the vaccine to getting COVID-19, rather than comparing the vaccine to a fantasy in which nothing bad happens. In the more realistic comparison both the vaccine and the infection have the (hypothetical!) potential to making your immune system go a bit nuts, though such a reaction to the vaccine doesn't seem to have been reported. The vaccine is very likely to be safer than the infection, since COVID-19 seems to kill about 1-2% of the people who get it, and disable many more. So, even if you are scared, the disease should perhaps be scarier than the vaccine. Maryland, where both of us are located, is doing poorly right now in terms of new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. It's one of 12 states where deaths are currently increasing.

I hope this is helpful. My only purpose in writing is to offer what might be a different way the consider the risks and benefits.

You are right the doctor is going to probably say get the vaccine. As Scott indicated you don't know how you will react to the vaccine and you also don't know how you will react if you get Covid. I was talking to an attorney friend yesterday who lost her brother a year ago and her father more recently to Covid. Her mother also got Covid and is apparently now a long hauler who is no longer capable of independent living as she was before Covid. She mentioned to me the only consolation is that FEMA is apparently helping the family with payment of the $20,000 in funeral expenses for her brother and father.

Basically it's a lot of unknowns. It's not a choice anyone really wants to have to make, but it's a choice you do have to make. Talk to your doctor and express your concerns. My understanding is that the Covid vaccine works a lot differently than the Flu vaccine does, but it does provoke an immune response and nobody knows what that response will be and it varies by the individual. On that note I am getting Pfizer part 2 vaccine tomorrow. I am a little anxious but I realize whatever will happen will happen. Because I am immune suppressed by Remicade, I discussed the timing of the vaccine with my doctor and he approved it as being 1 week plus after my last infusion.  Anyway, good luck with your decision. Let us know what you decide.

Last edited by CTBarrister

Something to think about: you can never have toxic megacolon again!

I would worry that Covid-19 would be a high risk of triggering severe disease in you. Remember, over 560,000  Americans have died from it, and so many more got severe disease with long term effects.

Maybe that flu vaccine from nearly 30 years ago was a trigger. Maybe not. But you are right that they do not give those vaccines anymore.


Hi Tamtam,

I am an unconditional of vaccines. After catching the worst flu of my life at age 23 (and I had a k pouch by then) , dehydrating, sick as a dog and bedridden for 10 days I decided...never again. I've taken the shot annually ever since.

$6 versus hell was a no-brainer for me. I got my covid vaccine as soon as I could. My 2nd was last week.

That said, I never had a bad reaction to a flu shot. I have lots of allergies but fortunately, not to them.

My S-in-L (85 and severe asthmatic ) went for her vaccine and when asked about her medical conditions she told them that she had nearly died from the typhus vaccine at age 12 (in 1949!)

They refused her. She eventually went back...told them again about the allergy and got re-refused.

But they suggested that she go to a hospital with an Allergy Department and have a test done first and then take the vaccine while in their service...a reasonable idea and rather reassuring I think.

Talk to your doctor, explain, ask and suggest allergy testing first. Better safe than sorry.

Good luck

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