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TONIGHT: Paralyzing Fear

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MISSOULA -

Flu shots will likely save thousands of lives this year. They will also likely permanently paralyze people.

It’s a paradox that plays out every flu season: the need to vaccinate the masses, at the expense of a few who will unexpectedly suffer irreparable injury from a bad reaction to the vaccine. 

After serving 32 years in the Army,  Lt. Col. Tim Gardipee needed one last physical before retirement. It included a flu shot.

Several days later, Gardipee's body began attacking itself

“It kept getting worse and worse until I went into something called spinal shock and I was totally paralyzed," said Gardipee. "Paralyzed from the neck down."

The Centers for Disease Control statistics show only one to two people in a million will suffer a severe reaction to the flu vaccine. Health officials say the risk is worth the reward, not just for you, but for those who can’t help themselves.

“There’s a term called cocooning, which is where every one of us who can get a shot, should," said Pam Whitney with the Missoula County Health Department.  "Because that protects those of us who cannot: infants under six months of age, the elderly who can’t, and those who are allergic to the flu shot.”

Tonight on your late newscast, David Winter spends time with Tim Gardipee to learn more about what happened to him. He also speaks with a vaccine injury attorney, who explains why pharmaceutical companies are immune to liability when it comes to vaccines.

Paralyzing Fear... tonight on your late newscast.

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