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Family Stories

The Nuland Family

FFF Advocate:
Seth and Lisa Nuland (father and mother)
Place of Residence:
Trumbull, CT
Survivor:
12-years-old, 2011
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Jacob Nuland

Jacob’s mother knows that the vaccine may have saved his life – it may have given Jacob just enough protection to get through it.


Jacob had always been healthy and was never been sick other than the occasional cold virus and strep throat. But on January 27, 2011, Jacob fell ill with symptoms including a high fever and sore throat, and he complained that he was having trouble breathing. His mother took him to the doctor, who diagnosed him with croup. 

On January 31st, Jacob’s 12th birthday, he again went to the pediatrician, who called an ambulance because his oxygen saturation was dangerously low. Upon arrival, he was intubated and then transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital where he stayed on a ventilator for four days. His diagnosis was bacterial pneumonia and influenza A. Jacob spent a total of nine days in the hospital.

Jacob still suffers lasting complications from his flu illness. He has to get a bronchoscopy once or twice a year so doctors can visualize the damage to his lungs and offer appropriate treatment plans. He also wears a mechanical vest daily to help him cough up mucus that would otherwise get stuck in his lungs. In addition, he relies on the use of a nebulizer one to two times per day to open up his scarred air passageways.

Although Jacob was vaccinated against the flu in 2011, he likely still got sick because he either did not build up enough antibodies before catching the virus or the flu virus that he caught was not included in that years vaccine. Regardless, Jacobs mother knows that the vaccine may have saved his life – it may have given Jacob just enough protection to survive his flu illness.

In December 2019, Jacob was again hospitalized with flu. Although he was vaccinated against flu that season, his lungs are still weak from his prior flu-related illness and hospitalization, making him more susceptible to complications. Unfortunately, as a result of his illness, he had to take a leave of absence from college to fully recover. His future lung health remains uncertain, and every time he gets pneumonia, his lungs get a bit worse.  His family is hoping that new treatments are developed and flu vaccination rates in the U.S. improve so Jacob can avoid the need for a lung transplant in the future.

Jacob and his entire family receive their annual flu vaccines each year. Although Jacob was hospitalized during two flu seasons, the fact that he was vaccinated likely gave him enough protection to survive both of these life-threatening ordeals. Jacob’s mother encourages everyone six months and older to get vaccinated against the flu every year in an effort to help protect themselves and others like Jacob who are at risk of serious flu-related complications. 

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