70s Swine Flu Vaccine Triggered Public Backlash

In the 1970's, a Swine Flu vaccine was blamed for causing more problems than the disease.

The vaccine was associated with a condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

It’s a paralyzing neuromuscular disorder.

10News reporter, Charisse Yu, spoke to one San Diegan who shared how he got sick during the big Swine Flu scare of the 70's.

The last time a form of the virus showed up in the U.S., Yu reported, it triggered a public backlash against flu vaccinations.

In response to a public service announcement, Scott Bittl got a vaccination.

But, he said, it backfired.

“Up until that point in my life, I was never that sick. Unbelievable,” Bittl said.

It was all part of a $137 million plan to immunize every man, woman and child.

The plan was to prevent a pandemic like the Spanish Flu that killed half a million people in the U.S. and as many as 50 million worldwide.

But some said the vaccine had side effects.

“Obviously, I got sick. I didn't die. I did get feverish. I went through all the motions of having probably the Swine Flu. At the time the feelings were intense,” Bittl recalled.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, shortly after the campaign started, three people died after receiving the vaccine.

But, the CDC said, they found no evidence that the vaccine caused it.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the vaccine was linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome and more than 500 people developed the disorder.

25 people died.

The program ended only after millions got the shot.

Some doctors in San Diego say a vaccine isn't the solution to the problem.

Naturopathic Doctor, Ian Moore, said he is not “anti-vaccinations,” but says people underestimate their immune system.

“Most healthy individuals have a strong immune system that's able to fight off these infections, so, I think it's premature to jump towards the reaction that we do need a vaccine for everything,” Moore said.

The CDC has since done a study on the vaccine.

On the front page of 10News.com, click on the red TV button to see the report.