Christopher Kanervisto

Christopher had always been healthy; if he got a bug it was usually gone within a day or two. He was very active in sports. His doctor visits were mainly well check ups and no issues had ever come up. He had his childhood vaccines. They were delayed but he did receive them, but he never had a flu vaccine.

We had discussed the regular flu vaccine and 2009 H1N1 vaccine. He wanted my opinion, I told him to not worry about the regular flu vaccine since he had never had a problem with cold or flu bugs. We were both unsure about the H1N1 vaccine. He was right in the age group that was most susceptible:  college student, campus living and around a lot of people. I left it up to him.

On October 19th, he called to say he had decided to get the vaccine and went to the local health department. He received the H1N1 Flumist vaccine. On November 4th he sent a message to his girlfriend that he felt like crap but the next day he sent another message that he felt a lot better and just had a little sore throat. He commented one time to me that he felt tired but he thought it was from staying up late and studying (or playing games or his guitar).

On November 19th, Christopher spent the evening with his friends. He talked to his dad around 10 p.m. about their plans to ski over Thanksgiving weekend. He talked to his girlfriend on Skype until about 3 a.m. One friend tried to convince him to stay up and watch a movie but he said he was tired and was going to bed. November 20th, Christopher was supposed to pick his girlfriend up at the Frontrunner station and when he didn’t show up and she couldn’t reach him she called one of his friends who called me. I called his roommate who found him. He had passed away in his sleep.

That was the day my world stopped. We spoke with the medical examiner about his

medical history several times over the next two months looking for a cause. The only thing that was out of the ordinary was the vaccine. She called us on February 10th to say she thought the cause of death would be “unknown,” but they were going to do one more test on his heart. (I remember the date. Christopher’s birthday is February 11th).

We finally received the autopsy results in mid-February 2010. Cause of death:  Viral Myocarditis. The medical examiner said it was the “flu” he had in October. I reminded her that he had not had the flu; it was the vaccine he had in October. I asked her to check for something in the vaccine. She said it had been too long and they would be unable to isolate it down that far.

The thing that sticks in my mind is when I was told by someone from The United States Health Resources and Services Administration that the vaccine cannot cause the flu but may cause flu-like symptoms while the immune system is reacting to the vaccine. Flu-like symptoms are a common symptom of Myocarditis.

I hear about so many young healthy people passing away from unknown causes and I wonder how many of these “unknowns” are actually Myocarditis. I also hear about young healthy people collapsing from an undetected heart condition. Is this an undetected condition of Myocarditis? So many questions and not enough answers. How many of these reactions are caused by an adverse reaction to a vaccine? So much information is withheld from a parent… they never make the connection.

In Christopher’s case I believe it was the vaccine that triggered the Myocarditis, but I also believe there are many medical issues that can be triggered by an adverse reaction to a vaccine.

I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, he was my little boy. 

–Sandy Kanervisto, Christopher’s mother.