Reply To: Hospital Pharmacy — GBS and Vaccination: Usually Unrelated

April 9, 2012 at 4:05 am

Dawn Kevie’s mom:

A prior history of GBS is considered by the CDC to be a contraindication for the live, attenuated influenza vaccine, but only a precaution for the inactivated influenza vaccine.  It is also a contraindication for meningococcal vaccines (Menactra), however it is still allowed for certain persons at high risk.

If someone is saying Menactra is “known to cause GBS,” that is an exaggeration.  It is listed as a contraindication because of associations reported through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, as a precaution.  Here is the statement on Menactra from the FDA:

Excerpt from linked document:

“While the cases reported suggest a small increased risk of GBS following immunization with Menactra, the limitations in VAERS, and the uncertainty regarding background incidence rates for GBS require that these findings be viewed with caution. At this time, CDC and FDA cannot determine with certainty whether Menactra does increase the risk of GBS in persons who receive the vaccine and, if so, to what degree. …”

Perhaps it seems like I’m nit-picking, but I think it better to refer to the official statements from the CDC, FDA, and NIH, for consistency.  Then, of course, to discuss these statements with your personal physician if you are considering whether to take a particular vaccine or not.

My degrees are both Computer Science.  In some universities this is an Arts and Sciences degree instead of Engineering.  Most people who call themselves “Software Engineer” are not degreed engineers at all, or CS A&S.  

The computer field is much more crowded today than when I entered it.  I’m not sure if the opportunities are as good as they used to be.  The main thing, however, is to choose the discipline in which one has the most interest and talent.  Mechanical Engineering will not have the problem of unqualified people calling themselves “engineer.”  I wish your son the best of success in his chosen field.