A single mother-of-three became fully paralysed after getting a free flu injection at work.
Kathy Watson-Jones, a hospital clerk from Greensborough in northeast Melbourne, received the vaccination on April 23 and that evening her legs started shaking and feeling like jelly.
By lunchtime the next day Ms Watson-Jones was paralysed from the face down.
The 45-year-old was rushed to hospital and after a day of tests doctors told her she had contracted the incredibly rare Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) – a disorder that causes the immune system to attack the nervous system resulting in paralysis.
‘I thought I was going to die,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It was just so scary and quick.
She is now confined to a wheelchair after contracting the incredibly rare Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)
‘I had no idea what was happening and I’d never heard of this virus.’
Doctors told her that GBS can be triggered by the flu injection but said it was incredibly uncommon.
Federal Health Department figures show that 16 cases GBS have been reported to the Therapeutic Good Authority in relation to the flu injection in the past five years.
Ms Watson-Jones had never had the flu jab before but said she was advised to get it at her workplace at Northpark Private Hospital.
‘I just happened to be at work the day they were doing them,’ she said.
‘I work in the maternity ward and someone said ‘You work around kids you should have one.’
‘I thought I’d get a cold at worst, nothing like this.’
Ms Watson-Jones spent three weeks in the acute neurological ward have routine tests on her breathing and other functions.
‘When my face got paralysed had trouble eating and talking and I couldn’t cough,’ he said.
She said it was hard for her three daughters Shannon, 13, Jamie, 12, and Zoe, 10, to see their mother in such a state.
‘It’s pretty horrible, I’ve always been there and now I’m not,’ she said.
‘They’re managing very well.’
Ms Watson-Jones says she is lucky her condition ‘plateaued’ and she is slowly regaining feeling in her face and hands, but she is now confined to a wheelchair.