Had your flu and pneumonia vaccinations? Whoop... - CLL Support

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Had your flu and pneumonia vaccinations? Whoopi Goldberg's Pneumonia Nightmare - Talk show host recounts near-fatal sepsis infection


I don't post about celebrities as a rule - they get more than enough media attention, but this article from Medpage Today caught my attention because of the classic symptoms of a sepsis infection on top of pneumonia:

'...her primary doctor, Rodriguez, who told the audience that when he spoke to her: "I could barely understand Whoopi. Her teeth were chattering, she was gasping for air." When she told him all she wanted to do is lay down and go to sleep, he became even more concerned. "I tried not to sound scared ... I was afraid she wasn't going to wake up because you don't know if someone, when they give you those clues ― is she really now just tired or is she going to become unconscious and this is it?"

He arranged for an ambulance to take Goldberg to the hospital where she met Greenberg

"When I first met Whoopi, she was in a bad way. She had a high fever, she was short of breath, very rapid heart rate, and a low oxygen level, which is not a good sign."

Goldberg was diagnosed with pneumonia and sepsis.'


Here's our pinned post on vaccinations:


Get up to date with your non-live vaccinations NOW! We are at greater risk of sepsis, particularly if we have neutropenia. Pneumonia is a significant killer in CLL and can follow on from a flu (or cold) infection. Prompt access to IV antibiotics is necessary to save your life in these circumstances. ER/A&E treat apparent sepsis/febrile neutropenia cases with the same urgency as heart attacks - time to IV antibiotics counts.


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6 Replies

I remember her missing from her TV show. After 2 weeks, people got suspicious...month later she announced she almost died. Very scary.

I haven't been able to get the second pn shot. My insurance would only cover the first one (neumovax). The Prevnar 13 would only be covered in the state I used to work in. I don't live there anymore. I tried 3 times to plan the trip. Cancelled each time due to illnesses then treatment time. I got superstitious and decided there is a reason I shouldn't get it. I told my CLL expert about my dilemma...he said it would be only 13% effective anyway ( just prior to my treatment) so I gave up trying to get it. I will be covered next year by insurance. Have to get the neumovax again cuz the 2 shots go together few weeks apart. Will speak to my oncologists about it again to get their opinions.

Scary stuff. I get a pneumonia shot but I’m often neutropenic. Anything else I should do in addition to labs and trying to stay away from people that are ill?

in reply to Zia2

Be aware that you need to have a neutrophil count above 0.5 before any vaccinations or the vaccination can make you febrile.

Keeping your distance from those that are ill is a major factor in staying safe, but you also need to be vigilant with food quality, food preparation hygiene and storage, environmental exposure, e.g. when working in the garden or being in contact with birds and animals, or areas they have inhabited and so on.

Having an accurate thermometer and possibly a blood pressure monitor - or at least knowing how to take your pulse is important. I found that an oral or infra-red in ear thermometer was essential. The infra-red temple measurement method proved inaccurate.

Have a bag packed in readiness for an emergency hospital visit.

Don't be surprised if no cause is found for a febrile neutropenia episode. That's a common occurrence and was my experience in my two febrile neutropenia admissions. That's less important than having the IV antibiotics work, though it would help to know the cause(s), so proactive efforts to reduce the risk of further recurrences were best targeted.


in reply to AussieNeil

Thanks Neil. I believe 0.7 has been my lowest so far and 1 most often. I’ll look into the thermometer too.

in reply to Zia2

Last admission I discovered how an illness and antibiotics can temporarily worsen neutropenia - my neutrophil count was over 1.0 at admission, thanks to G-CSF injections. It dropped under 1.0 subsequently. Otherwise healthy people can get this too.

Hm did not realize vaccinations a bad idea. Just had last hpv and hep A vaccines a couple days ago.

I wonder if I will develop immunity since I started cyclosporine the day after. Suppose I could get the shots again in a couple years..

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