Missouri Soldier Fighting Back Against Vaccine's Side Effects

NOVEMBER 27, 2006 - Posted at 7:42 a.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A 20-year-old Springfield soldier was trying to protect himself when he got a small pox vaccine.

But the vaccine left Josef Lopez paralyzed and fighting for his life.

Lopez had been serving in Iraq for only one week when he lost all ability to move.

Since-mid November, he's been in physical therapy in Springfield, learning how to walk again.

Lopez got his vaccinations in California, about a week before leaving for Iraq. He first noticed something was wrong on the last day in September.

Lopez was taken to a hospital in Germany. Doctors told Lopez that the vaccine made his antibodies attack one another. It took several blood transfusions to start reversing the problem.

As hard as it has been, Lopez believes it happened for a good reason...so he could see his dad, who died on Thanksgiving Day from Alzheimer's disease.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)