Flu shots, safe after GBS?

    • Anonymous
      October 11, 2006 at 6:26 pm

      I was wondering if anyone has information as to whether or not a flu shot is safe after having GBS less than 1 yr?
      Any info would be helpful.

    • Anonymous
      October 11, 2006 at 10:30 pm

      Manufactures data sheets generally indicated GBS is one of the conditions where in is not advised to receive a flu shot.

      Drive-thru flu shots offered at KU Hospital

      Note that in the article the following caution:

      People who should not receive the vaccine include those who have an allergy to eggs (used to make the vaccine) and anyone who has ever been paralyzed with Guillian Barre’ Syndrome. People who have a cold or fever should wait until they have recovered. Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant should check with their health care provider.

      Here is a link for those who would like the full article


    • Anonymous
      October 11, 2006 at 10:33 pm

      flu shot? absolutely NOT. take care. be well.

      gene gbs 8-99
      in numbers there is strength

    • Anonymous
      October 11, 2006 at 11:54 pm

      hi all. just got my flu shot today. this is the 5th one since my onset in 2001. i haven’t gotten the flu or a relapse. i guess it’s a matter of opinion. i personally will keep up with my flu and pneumonia shots regularly.

    • Anonymous
      October 12, 2006 at 7:38 am

      I would soon have the flu than GBS. The flu shot was a contributing factor to my onset. Never again will i have one, even if I return to nursing. I will up vitamin C, wash my hands well (sing row your boat twice) 🙂 and stay out of the shopping maill for awhile.

    • Anonymous
      October 13, 2006 at 7:09 pm


      Couldn’t help it, I sang it twice (just the chorus though – it’s all I know).

      The flu vaccine and me parted a few years ago. Actually, aside from GBS, I don’t like it anyway.

      I know there are those whose risks from getting the flu are major. But I still wonder about what Jethro said – that last year (was it last year?) that, although the virus mutates each year and apparantly the vaccine changes to the best guess available – EVERY year – it didn’t change at all last year. So lots of people got the vaccine against flu viruses that were not going around. The previous year it seems that there was a lot of left-over flu vaccine. The vaccine apparently is made up every year, so there wouldn’t be anyone just using up what was left over from the previous year, now would there? Yeah right. And there are fairies at the bottom of the garden.

      So, you could have had the flu vaccine, with any potential risks from it, and then got the flu. Other than from a financial standpoint, the reasonng behind that was – a major secret so far as I can tell.

      The last doctor I saw, got the flu vaccine cos he was of travelling. He ended up sicker than he would have been had it got the flu. That doesn’t mean that the vaccine is bad, but he took it as a precautionary measure and it back-fired. I could get chest infections – and they have nothing to do with the flu. I recognise that there is a small chance of getting influenza. Given my circumstances I would rather go to bed and fight influenza/

      On the subject of vaccines, there was an article in our paper recently about the suggestion that the new vaccine aganst cervival cancer (I think that is what is was) ought to be mandatory for schoolgirls. It’s a vaccine, it is new and I will move countries before anyone puts that into my daughter without my say so! These demi-gods seem to think that a law can be passed that a vaccine can be adminstered by order. And a new vaccine at that. These demi-gods are supposed to be the servants of the people.

      What the heck happens to servants of the people when they get elected? Do they leave their brain cells behind them, or what?

      I actually have had the flu vaccine once, after GBS, with no side-effects. That dos not mean I will have it again.

      Yes, in my circumstances (a vaccine did not kick-start my gGBS) I might consider a flu shot in the future, (though I doubt it) but it is my choice and I do not agree with that choice being taken from me.

      Um, I hope this makes sense. It is gone midnight here!


    • Anonymous
      October 15, 2006 at 7:28 pm

      hi teresa. thank you for not shooting me because i am 5 years post gbs and get a flu shot every year. i got my gbs from an upper respiratory infection. i know, no one agrees with me about getting a flu shot, however, my immune system is so challenged, due to both gbs and autoimmune hepatitis, that every time i walk into a medical facilicty i now have to wear a surgical mask because i get sick EVERY time. so i’m willing to take the risk of a flu shot and not get the flu, (which i haven’t had the flu since getting the shots for the past 5 years), than end up with the flu, (which seems to become an epidemic whenever it hits philadlephia) every year. i keep anti bacterial gel in my purse, car and house at all times. but you can always breathe in something airborne no matter how clean your hands are. anyway, i really appreciate you believing that i should at least have the option of doing so, weather you personally belikeve in getting the shots or not.
      thanks again. 😉

    • Anonymous
      October 16, 2006 at 10:58 am

      I used to get the flu shot every year and have been told by doctors, nurses, etc not to get one again. I went in to get my liver function tests done and the nurse who took my blood asked what had happened to me (I was slowely hobbeling in on crutches) I told her I had Guillain-Barré and without even asking her opinion she said, “Oh, you know you are never supposed to get the flu shot again dont you?” I figure a nurse who just came straight out and said it and being a nurse who administers them that was enough for me.

      You may or may not care about CDC recommendations. But if interested, they specifically say for anyone who has ever had GBS should not get the flu shot.


    • Anonymous
      October 16, 2006 at 5:45 pm

      well, it’s too late now for this year. i already got it, however i will print out the article and give it to my docs. for next year. thank you for the info. i don’t know if they want me to have the shot due to the autoimmune hepatitis on top of the gbs or what. i will check though. thanks again. 🙂

    • Anonymous
      October 16, 2006 at 6:30 pm

      Heck Deb

      I wouldn’t dream of shooting anyone down for getting the flu vaccine. As long as they know the pros and cons, it is a personal decision based on personal circumstances. I can see why you get it. You’ve had the flu vaccine 5 times now with no ill effects. That’s good news. Okay, the chances may be that you would not have got it, maybe, but in your situation it seems a risk for you.

      I’ve had it once, no ill effects – but I am fortunate and don’t think I need it – I agree with my doc in that I’d rather fight the flu, if it happens. But – it’s a different ‘ball game’ for you. As I said, so long as we are informed we can make our individual decisions.

      It’s not so much the flu vaccine I object to as the old ‘ignorance is bliss’ – because it isn’t really bliss. I accept that knowing the possble consequences of an action can make it scary, but in the end, it is surely better to be informed that otherwise.

      I personally don’t want the flu shot and I don’t particularly like it. Yet, nor do I like the sound of a nurse who says – you had GBS so you mustn’t get the flu shot – because I think the nurse has read the warning – and that’s it – never mind the personal medical issues of the person concerned, never mind the risks and benefits to that particular person. What that tells me is that they don’t actually know. And they don’t, because they cannot. Simply because GBS is rather weird.

      Deb, were I in your shoes, I’d probably take the flu shot – first, having taken account of the risks, my family history as regards GBS (and other auto-immune diseases) and reactions to vaccines. Were I in the shoes of another woman on this site, I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.

      To me, we each do the best we can to protect ourselves – I would just like our decisions to be informed ones.

    • Anonymous
      October 17, 2006 at 10:57 am

      NO on the flu shot for me, although I did have one about 7 years ago and was fine. About 4 years ago I did get the flu and it was horrible, but I recovered after a week with no residuals – unlike GBS.

      Again this year, I am the planner of my company’s flu shots – so ironic. And when everyone is in line, they always ask me what is this Gioreoiell Barr stuff. Oh boy, do they get an earful from me including how to pronounce the name. So this Thursday I will be doing this again.

    • Anonymous
      October 17, 2006 at 8:03 pm

      Dear Chrissy,

      These are some facts about influenza you should know…and you know I would not lie to you:

      For several years the CDC has employed behaviorists and communications specialists to instill fear and anxiety in the public about infectious diseases in order to promote mass vaccination. But the rhetoric about flu risks have been especially exaggerated. Example: The CDC says there will be between 36,000 – 70,000 or more deaths in the U.S. caused by the flu each year. Do you know how many people died from influenza in 2002? Would you believe 753…and only 257 in 2001? Google up: American Lung Association “Trends in Pneumonia and Influenza/Morbidity and Mortality” look on page 9. Over the last 23 years (every other year stats) the average U.S. death rate is about 1,200 per year from influenza. So, how does the CDC come up with 36,000 – 70,000 deaths from influenza? They add influenza and pneumonia together, but influenza is not a direct cause of pneumonia.

      You may hear health professionals attempt to justify the legitimacy of combining flu deaths with pneumonia deaths with the statement that “influenza leads to pneumonia.” The facts do not support this frequent, broad misstatement by health professionals.
      The American Lung Association (ALA) describes pneumonia as having over 30 different causes (one being the influenza virus). Neither the CDC nor ALA know the specific causes of the pneumonias that resulted in death. However, we do know that influenza is not the major cause.

      Keep in mind that the influenza vaccine provides no protection from bacterial infections. The National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Disease as well as other health agencies estimate that the single bacteria – streptococcus pneumoniae – is responsible for 15% to 50% of all cases of pneumonia in the US, including up to 40,000 deaths annually.

      Pneumonia is also caused by other bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (staph), Pertussis (whooping cough), Streptococci, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae (a common cause of walking pneumonia). There are also many non-infectious causes of pneumonia such as asthma, aspiration of fluids, immunodeficiency, etc. So, it stretches credibility to assert that the flu causes pneumonia when, in fact, the data shows that it only causes a small minority of cases.

      Because of the recent flu vaccine shortage The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that healthy people under the age of 65 should do without a flu shot. But, there is also data that shows there is little, if any, benefit in those over age 65…in preventing influenza, hospitalization, length of hospitalization, and death. In fact, some studies show an increase in risks for those over age 65.

      So even if there were enough flu vaccines, why would You be urged to get one? The CDC just said that healthy people under the age of 65 can do without a flu shot. Those of you who take care of your immune system Year ’round don’t have anything to worry about.

      The question you want to ask yourself is “Do I really want to have a vaccine injected into my body when my immune system is not in the best of shape?” Before you decide just how easy this decision is to make, Let me explain a few things which will make the decision a little easier.

      This year’s flu strains were decided in Feburary – See, that gives the vaccine manufacturers time to produce the vaccine. This is real rocket science…this is for people that will get the flu in December-January, and based on a “Crystal Ball” from about 30 “experts” based on what flu viruses invaded the US last year…what viruses? We didn’t have any.

      The biggest problem you face with flu shots is that you are being injected with a number of toxic additives. How would you like to have antifreeze injected into Your body? Don’t worry, they call it ethylene glycol. Makes it sound better doesn’t it? Or formaldehyde? (to kill Viruses). Here’s the best one – a mercury derivative called Thimerosal (used as a preservative). And this additave must be undercover – A chemical mixture called MF-59. A H9N2 avian influenza vaccine adjuvant (added to produce a high antibody response) – not the H5N1 virus currently feared as a potential Bird Flu pandemic strain. Make sure you read [url]http://whale.to/vaccines/sherri.html[/url]

      Are there safer alternatives to vaccines? Of course there are. Let’s go over some of the most effective proven, safe and natural ways to keep your immune system healthy no matter what season it is. Lose the sweets. That’s right, sugar compromises the immune system. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and fresh organic meat protein. Wash your hands more often…as many people are walking around with colds, you may be shaking hands and touching things others have. How about zinc…50 mg/day all seasons will help prevent colds and flu.


    • Anonymous
      October 17, 2006 at 8:32 pm


      Thanks so much for the info. I have always been a little suspicious and now I see some of my fears have basis in fact.

      Just another reason I won’t have nor will I recommend it for anyone I know!

    • Anonymous
      October 17, 2006 at 9:55 pm

      while filing jethro’s informative post, i found this:

      Misconceptions about the Flu: The most common misconception about the “flu” (a generic term applied to almost anything that makes us feel unwell), is that all flu-like illnesses are caused by influenza viruses. Laboratory confirmed tests conducted across Canada over the years have shown that the majority of flu-like illnesses experienced by young people during the fall and winter season are NOT associated with influenza viruses.

      Typical flu-like symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, as well as headache, muscle aches, and often-extreme fatigue. Although most people who get the flu recover completely within 1-2 weeks, some people may develop serious medical complications such as pneumonia.

      While Health officials squander millions of scarce health care dollars on the flu vaccine hype each year, they hide the fact that only a small percentage of flu-like illnesses are actually influenza.

      Numerous circulating pathogens can precipitate flu-like symptoms, and are most often not “influenza”. Official medical sources like Health Canada reveal that only a small percentage of Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI) – somewhere between 10 – 15%, are actually influenza. The rest, 85-90% of these Influenza-like Illnesses are precipitated by other pathogens such as RSV virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and others.

      Says epidemiologist Dr. Vittorio Demichelli, MD “The actual proportion of influenza A and B cases among ILI cases is not well known, but the few available studies indicate a modest proportion of probably less than 10%, regardless of age group.”

      In Canada, the Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention & Control (CIDPC) receives reports on laboratory tests for Influenza between 25 August 2002, and 10 May 2003, on 46,177 laboratory test for influenza; 3,291 tests (7.1%) were confirmed as positive for influenza and, of those, 1,891 (57.5% of 3,291) were identified as influenza A and 1,400 (42.5% of 3,291) as influenza B. The rest – the majority of 92.9% cases of flu-like illnesses were related to, or caused by viruses other than Influenza. [url]http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/pphb-dgspsp/…cc-4/index.html[/url]

      Will the flu vaccine protect you from “catching” the flu? In a “systematic review of 20 randomized trials of the effects of the vaccine in healthy adults”, Dr. Demichelli found that amoung healthy individuals, “only 1 of 4 vaccinated adults will acquire protection against the clinical illness.”

      “There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza. The producers of these vaccines know that they are worthless, but they go on selling them anyway.” – Dr. D. J. Anthony Morris (distinguished virologist and formerly Chief Vaccine Control Officer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration).

      “In a 1993 Dutch article on a nursing home for the elderly, 50% of the vaccinated population caught the illness compared to 48% unvaccinated.”

      As health officials now push flu vaccine on babies as young as 6 months, consider this: Large scale studies of compulsory flu vaccination in Japan of school aged children showed the vaccine to be ineffective and conducive to lawsuits: Due to adverse side effects. Two large studies, one in 1980 and the other in 1985, involving four cities with vaccination rates between 1% and 90% showed little difference in flu incidence. In 1987, the Japanese government changed the flu vaccine from compulsory to voluntary. By 1989, even though only 20% of the population took the flu vaccine, the incidence of influenza did not increase.

      “Over the past twenty years, age specific death rates for pneumonia and influenza have increased in the older adult populations (over age 65). “However, since 1987, while death rates from influenza in the over 65-age group have been increasing, flu vaccination rates also increased from 33% to 65%.

      In Great Britain, the post office dropped its influenza vaccine program after it showed no improvement in absenteeism. In Birmingham, six hundred elderly vaccinated people showed over double the incidence of respiratory disease as compared to a non-vaccinated group.

      How Safe Are Flu Vaccines? During 2001-2002, Aventis Pasteur Ltd. distributed approximately 7.3 million doses of Fluzone and Vaxigrip, and Shire Biologics distributed approximately 2 million doses of Fluviral S/F. During this time, Shire Biologics produced a new Fluviral S/F. The product information sheet indicates that, the vaccine contains “purified portions of the virus”, is “inactivated with formaldehyde, and also contains 0.01% thimerosal (a mercury derivative) as a preservative, trace residual amounts of egg proteins, deoxycholate and/or Polyethylene Glycol p-isooctylphenyl Ether (Triton X-100).” Some flu vaccines contain up to 25 micrograms of mercury per dose, five times the maximum amount judged safe by the CDC for a 110 lb. person.

      Mercury alone makes the flu shot UNSAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN. The safest and most effective methods of flu prevention are frequent hand washing and a healthy lifestyle.

      Between September 2001 & March 2002, Health Canada received 1,800 reports of adverse reactions to flu vaccines in the form of “oculo-respiratory syndrome” (ORS) defined as “onset of bilateral red eyes and/or respiratory symptoms (cough, wheeze, ches tightness, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or sore throat) and/or facial swelling occurring within 24 hours of influenza immunization.”

      Flu vaccines are cultured in chicken embryo. This means that people who are allergic to egg and/or chicken can become seriously ill. All viral vaccines contain not only the particular strains of virus but they also contain traces of leukemia virus and other cancer-associated viruses. These are not completely removable. They exist in the chicken from which these eggs are taken and although it is claimed to be 98% purified, 2% of several billion viruses is still an awful lot of cancer and leukemia dangers.

      According to Dr. J. Seal, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “Any and all flu vaccines are capable of causing Guillain-Barre’. In the Swine flu vaccine disaster of 1976, over 500 people in the U.S. were paralyzed by the disease, with 30 dying after being injected with the vaccine. Other problems associated with flu shots are paralysis, memory loss, itchy rashes, and chronic fatigue. [Personal Note: Per a CBS 60 MINUTES Report on the 1976 Swine Flu, there were over 4,000 neurological law suits before the HEW, and the majority were Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome. They also reported 300 deaths associated with the Swine flu.] [url]http://www.whale.to/vaccines/swine.html[/url]

      Is it influenza? Or is it pesticide/chemical poisoning? The symptoms of the flu are also synonymous with the symptoms experienced when one is exposed to toxic levels of such poisons as pesticides, herbicides and fluoride. Grand Knight, MD, stated under oath at a Congressional Hearing in the 60’s that “waves of so-called ‘Virus-X’ and similar diseases …are caused by exposure to such agricultural chemicals; [and] that it is impossible for doctors to diagnose the difference between London flu, virus conditions and pesticide poisoning.” ~Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth by Walene James, pp. 118-119.


      1. Maine Lung Association: [url]http://mainelung.org/learn_with_us/lhi2/flu_intro.htm[/url]
      2. Health Canada Website – Statements on Influenza Vaccination for the 2002-2003 Season- [url]http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/pphb-dgspsp/…28sup/acs5.html[/url]
      3. Canadian Medical Association Journal: [url]http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/164/1/38[/url]
      4. Dr. J. Anthony Morris: [url]http://members.iquest.net/~macihms/…fo/flushot.html[/url]
      5. See The Flu Vaccine: Is It Really Safe and Effective? [url]http://home.sprynet.com/~gyrene/flu.htm[/url]
      6. “Why the Japanese government had to cease compulsory vaccinations” – A presentation by Dr. Yamamoto: Naples, Italy, June 1997 [url]http://www.whale.to/vaccines/flu7.html[/url]
      7. The Maine (U.S.) Lung Association, statistics for USA See graph at: [url]http://mainelung.org/learn_with_us/lhi2/fluG2.html[/url]
      8. Sunday Express, 12/17/89
      9. US FDA, CDC and EPA 1999 directive to manufacturers to remove mercury from childhood vaccines.
      10. Health Canada on adverse reactions to flu vaccine: [url]http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/pphb-dgspsp/…28sup/acs6.html[/url]
      11. Dr. Eva Snead in an interview by Gary Null. [url]http://www.whale.to/vaccines/snead1.html[/url]
      12. See Vaccination – Assault on the Species by Pat Rattigan, ND [url]http://www.vegan.swinternet.co.uk/a….html#influenza[/url]
      13. Hugh Fudenburgh MD, world’s leading immunogeneticist, 1997 for info on Vaxigrip [url]http://www.aventispasteur.com/canada/products/index.asp[/url]

      Vaccination Risk Awareness Network Inc. (VRAN), a not-for profit, volunteer educational society committed to advocating for consumers’ right to informed choice about vaccines.
      P.O. Box 169
      Winlaw, BC
      V0G 2J0
      Phone: 250-355-2525
      Email: [email]info@vran.org[/email]
      Website: [url]http://www.vran.org/[/url]

      Information for all above material came from: [url][/url]

      gene gbs 8-99
      in numbers there is strength

    • Anonymous
      October 17, 2006 at 10:27 pm

      gene. i got on the last website you referenced. it was very informative. thanks for the info. well, i guess i’ll stop getting the flu shot as i’ve been doing for the past 5 years post gbs. i haven’t gotten the flu, but i’m sure it was just being very careful on my part. using antibacterial hand sanitizer, washing hands constantly, etc. i will be traveling out of the country in about three weeks. i’m going to wear a mask on the plane. that recycled air gives me the “willies”. i get sick every time i walk into a medical facility, so i started wearing a mask along with the hand washing and it’s been working great. so you can just imagine what a plane ride does to me. seems i always get stuck sitting near a rude coughing, sneezing person who can’t cover his/her face when doing so. well, i guess i’m finally convinced. no more flu shots for me. too late for this year, since i already got it. thank you for the website info. it has definitely opened my eyes.

    • Anonymous
      October 17, 2006 at 10:44 pm

      I’m curous. How long after getting a flu shot does it usually take to get GBS?

      I realize that everyone is different ,and certainly not everyone gets GBS from a flu shot, but in general, if you are one of the “lucky” ones where the shot does cause GBS, how long after the shot do you get it?

    • Anonymous
      October 17, 2006 at 11:06 pm

      [QUOTE=Suzanne]I’m curous. How long after getting a flu shot does it usually take to get GBS?

      I realize that everyone is different ,and certainly not everyone gets GBS from a flu shot, but in general, if you are one of the “lucky” ones where the shot does cause GBS, how long after the shot do you get it?[/QUOTE]

      I had read something a while back about this and thought it was something like 2 weeks. I looked on the CDC site and couldnt find specifically but it does reference the time or receiving the shot 6 weeks prior to onset.


    • Anonymous
      October 17, 2006 at 11:23 pm


      It was determined during the Swine Flu stats that the window for getting GBS after a flu shot can be as long as 6-8 weeks. However, the majority is within a 3 week time period.


    • Anonymous
      October 17, 2006 at 11:34 pm

      Hi Gene,

      I remember the info you just posted. Boy, I wish I had printed out a copy of all the good information we posted on the old board.:rolleyes:

      Great material.


    • Anonymous
      October 18, 2006 at 9:52 am

      Tahnks Gene. Just as informative as Jethro’s and I STILL am not having a flu shot or vaccine again. This just makes me more adament.

    • Anonymous
      October 18, 2006 at 10:31 am

      hi deb,
      while the jury is still out for me regarding ‘airborne’, to date i have not gotten sick using it on a plane taken every 3 hours.

      me too. wish i had saved more. and do you think i have learned my lesson? apparently not since i still do not save-to-disk all that i should.

      take care. be well.
      gene gbs 8-99
      in numbers there is strength

    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2006 at 2:00 pm

      Since we’re discussing flu shots here, I have a question that Ben–my fiance with GBS–and I have been talking about the past few days. I’m 35, healthy and have only had the flu once in my life. My chances of getting it this year are probably slim to none, especially since I ate after Ben and smooched on him when he had the flu that brought on GBS, and I still didn’t get it. I rarely ever get colds or anything.

      That said, every other person at my office is getting sick right now, and I’m concerned about bringing germs home to Ben. I sit in a pretty tight space with people sneezing and coughing around me all day. Should I get the flu shot or a flu mist this year, or just chance it and hope we stay healthy?



    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2006 at 3:40 pm

      hi shannon. as you may have read earlier in this thread. i am 5 years post gbs and have had a flu shot every year with no complications whatsoever. i have since been talked out of future flu shots with proven documentation as to why i shouldn’t have it. keep using anti bacterial hand gel, both you and your fiance. i wear a mask when entering a medical facility or a closed area where there is no proper air circulation. gene recommends the over the counter product called airborne. both of you should eat well, take vitamin c zinc, etc. and you should both be ok. just be very careful.
      both of you stay well. 😉

    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2006 at 4:09 pm

      [QUOTE=Shannon]Since we’re discussing flu shots here, I have a question that Ben–my fiance with GBS–and I have been talking about the past few days. I’m 35, healthy and have only had the flu once in my life. My chances of getting it this year are probably slim to none, especially since I ate after Ben and smooched on him when he had the flu that brought on GBS, and I still didn’t get it. I rarely ever get colds or anything.

      That said, every other person at my office is getting sick right now, and I’m concerned about bringing germs home to Ben. I sit in a pretty tight space with people sneezing and coughing around me all day. Should I get the flu shot or a flu mist this year, or just chance it and hope we stay healthy?



      Personally I would get it if I were in your position. I had the flu shot almost every year pre-GBS and never got the flu on the years I got the shot. I did however get the flu on the years I skipped it. Regardless of what some people say I am convinced the flu shot helped me in the past from getting the flue. My GBS was not triggered by the flu shot though I wont get it again just based on CDC and dr recommendations. Since you have no reason to not get the flu shot and the flu shot could help you avoid getting the flu, why not? Your fiance had a slim to none chance of getting GBS and he got that anyways so I guess the way I look at it is that its not going to hurt you if you get it and but could help him.

    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2006 at 7:03 pm

      richard. i was a bit shocked you told shannon to get the flu shot. everyone hopped all over me when i told them i had been getting the flu shot every year since having gbs. i know she hasn’t gotten it, but it is a possibility. i have not gotten the flu, nor have i had a relapse since getting the flu shot post gbs. gene gave me the website to look at for the cdc and it scared me into not ever getting the flu shot again. i did get the shot about two weeks ago and i feel fine. i guess it’s a matter of opinion and what you’re comfortable doing. my gbs was brought on by an upper respiratory infection. have you stopped gettimg your flu shot now that you have gotten gbs?

    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2006 at 7:34 pm

      I think we’re going to talk to Ben’s neurologist about whether I should get it or not. I’ve read a lot of the info, which is why I’ve never gotten it in years past, but, like I metioned before, I don’t want to pass anything to Ben.



    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2006 at 9:23 pm

      good idea shannon. check with his neurologist. you and ben are in my prayers. please let us know what he says about the flu shot.

    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2006 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks, Deb! I’ll keep you posted. We hope to talk to him on Monday.

    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2006 at 11:21 pm


      When you talk to Ben’s neurologist, ask him if he gets a flu shot, because 70% of all doctors do not…and their children do not get the immunization shots either.


    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2006 at 11:33 pm

      well deb,

      i got my flu shot yesterday. i went in for my weekly b12 and boom, in the other arm it went.

      not alot of time to think about it or question it. i have had them every year for 20 years along with my pnem shot every five years.

      i guess we will see what happens. (and cross our fingers)


    • Anonymous
      October 23, 2006 at 9:47 am

      [QUOTE=Deb]richard. i was a bit shocked you told shannon to get the flu shot. everyone hopped all over me when i told them i had been getting the flu shot every year since having gbs. i know she hasn’t gotten it, but it is a possibility. i have not gotten the flu, nor have i had a relapse since getting the flu shot post gbs. gene gave me the website to look at for the cdc and it scared me into not ever getting the flu shot again. i did get the shot about two weeks ago and i feel fine. i guess it’s a matter of opinion and what you’re comfortable doing. my gbs was brought on by an upper respiratory infection. have you stopped gettimg your flu shot now that you have gotten gbs?[/QUOTE]

      Firstly, let me say my name is NOT richard… I am not a guy even, that is the guy who said the quote in my signature.

      Secondly, I personally dont recommend the flu shot for anyone who has had GBS which would probably be the reason people hopped all over you as you have ahd GBS. This person who posted has never had GBS… sure there is a very very very very small chance of her getting GBS from the flu shot but there is the same chance of her getting GBS from a stomach virus, the flu itself, surgery, or various other things such as in my case… no reason at all. Since her fiance has had GBS and she is around several people that have or potentially have the flu then it sure wouldnt hurt. I believe the risk of spreading the flu to him post GBS is worse than a person who has never had GBS actually get the shot.

      EDIT: This persons name has been removed below their quote in my signature so that nobody else calls this female “richard”

    • Anonymous
      October 23, 2006 at 11:12 am

      sorry. i didn’t mean to (offend) you. i don’t know your name. i’m fairly new here and i came to this website for emotional help, not to offend anyone. however, this is the point i’ve been trying to make when everyone hopped all over me about the flu shot. my dr. is a neuromuscular scientist who in his teaching days, taught students at princeton university. he now has the whole third floor at st. francis medical center in trenton, n.j. it is per his recommendation that i cointinue with my flu and pneumonia shots. he feels that since it is true that gbs can be brought on by ANY virus including flu and pneumonia, there is just as much chance of getting the flu or any other cold, sore throat, or viral infection. since i followed his recommendation, i’ve been getting the flu shot every year post gbs and have NOT gotten the flu or a relapse. he feels that since there’s a chance either way, then i should take the chance and not get the flu. (which i haven’t) i also have autoimmune hepatitis and i get sick very easily. my immune system is attacking my liver and i also take 10 pills a day for that. it’s the same meds. that organ transplant patients take. so i’m really tired of the people i came to for help bombarding me. just because there’s a slight chance of a relapse, doesn’t mean it’s an abaolute fact. i thank gene for all of his info. to me. he has been very helpful. i came to you all for help and i feel like you’re turning your backs on me. guess i’m having a bad day. does anyone care???? again, i apologize for offending you.

    • Anonymous
      October 23, 2006 at 11:48 am

      I was not offended by your post as you were asking a question and were confused as to why I recommended the flu shot to the person in question. I used to get the flu shot every year and as of now dont intend to again based on recommendations I have gotten from doctors. Every case is different and individual. Just because in my case it is not recommended does not mean that that is the best for you. If your doctors have told you that you should get the flu shot and you are comfortable with your doctors advice then I would say to go get it. (If you arent comfortable with your doctors advice, then obviously find a new doctor first). You have difference circumstances than me and in your case the risk of flu may be higher than the risk of the flu shot.

      the comment about the name richard was not targeted at you and apologize if it came across that way. I have had other people read that incorrectly and I had previously removed that persons name from my signature line, but when the site went down for a few weeks then that is one setting that went back and I hadnt realized I didnt change it again.

    • Anonymous
      October 23, 2006 at 11:52 am

      It was just a misunderstanding, no need for anyone to get upset further. We are all here to help each other.

      Deb you and I have GBS/CIDP and Autoimmune Hep. in common, I personally wont get a flu shot, that is what my Neuro recommended. Plus with the way my luck is it isn’t worth the risk no matter how small.


    • Anonymous
      October 24, 2006 at 4:16 pm

      I have severe asthma, copd. emphysma (sp?), allergies, smoked 2 packs a day for over 35 years…and am on oxygen 27/7. GBS came on after pneumonia in December 1998 and I was intubated several times while remaining paralyzed from waist down for 11 months although I can (loud cheers) walk now. I did get a flu shot for the first several years after GBS. But, after discussing flu shots with new, much more knowing doctors at NYU Medical Center and after much discussion on the forums, have not had a flu shot since 2002.

      I believe with Teresa’s recollection about contents of Jetho’s post is absolutely right. [FONT=”Arial Black”]NO MORE FLU SHOTS FOR ME–NO LONGER BELIEVE THAT FLU SHOTS ARE WORTH THE RISK.[/FONT].

      Best regards,

    • Anonymous
      October 25, 2006 at 8:39 am

      I just received my flu shot yesterday, after talking with multiple doctors, reading through all the research presented here, and fully knowing the risks.

      Thank you all for the information. I understand people making the decisions either way, and appreciate the learning. For those that would ask, my reasoning is as follows:

      After many discussions, my decision finally came down to my family. With an 18 month old at home who just recently recovered from pneumonia, and with our household expecting a new addition next spring, it was more important for me to try and protect my family from influenza (even if not the most effective protection … but at least some protection) than the personal risk of a GBS recurrence.

      It finally came down to worst-case scenarios … could I live with myself if I got the flu and passed it down to toddler or “bump” and something bad happened? Even if the flu shot is completely ineffective, I would at least have the psychological belief that I did everything possible to protect my family. Even if odds are 1 in a million against, I felt I should get the shot for my family’s protection, or at least for my own selfish peace of mind.

      At the same time, could I live with myself if I had a recurrence of GBS due to the flu-shot (which is also a likely low-risk, albeit nobody really knows yet)? Yes, I could, knowing that I may have protected my family in some small way, even if very, very low odds. (Again, selfish peace of mind).

      As mentioned before, I completely understand decisions on both sides of the fence, and every person here is under different circumstances. The great thing about this forum is that people are willing to partake of new ideas, learn differing opinions, share knowledge, and allow people to make the best decisions for themselves, personally. Thank you all for the guidance.

    • Anonymous
      October 25, 2006 at 8:48 am

      As you say, Swimmy, it is a PERSONAL decision. I applaud you for doing the research and weighing the risks. But a you say, protecting your family is also important. Thank you for sharing. I believe I would do the same….

    • Anonymous
      October 25, 2006 at 9:49 am

      thank you doug. I’M PROUD OF YOU!!!!!! i think you just summed up everything i’ve been feeling all along. a confusing decision, but it’s YOUR decision to make. i’ll keep you posted on my flu shot (given almost three weeks ago and no ill effects) and you keep me posted on yours. congrats on the new “bump” and the precsious little one you have now. i’ll keep you and your family in my prayers that you are protected against the flu or any other illness.
      with love,
      deb 🙂

    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2006 at 3:02 am

      [QUOTE]At the same time, could I live with myself if I had a recurrence of GBS due to the flu-shot (which is also a likely low-risk, albeit nobody really knows yet)? Yes, I could, knowing that I may have protected my family in some small way, even if very, very low odds. (Again, selfish peace of mind).[/QUOTE] The following is from the Summer/2003 GBSFI Newsletter, [I]The Communicator.[/I] [B]Safety of Immunizations for Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome Patients[/B] By Joel Steinberg, MD, PhD

      Guillain-Barre’ syndrome (GBS) briefly came to public attention in the fall of 1976 when it developed in an unusually large number of people who had received 1976 swine flu shots. More recently, rare mild increases in GBS cases have been associated with influenza immunizations. These events have raised concerns among GBS patients about the safety of immunizations. Most recommendations about immunizations have been derived from experiences with the population at large. The general teaching has been that most former GBS patients who would otherwise be a candidate for an immunization should still likely receive it, with rare exceptions. But what about the actual experiences of GBS patients with immunizations? Through the efforts of our sister organization, the Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome Support Group of the United Kingdom, data was collected from a large body of patients, and reported by Drs. J. Prichard, R. Mukhergjee, and R.A.C. Hughes of Guy’s, of the King’s and St. Thomas’ School of Medicine, Dept. of Clinical Neurosciences, London ([I]J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry[/I] 73:348-9, 2002). [U]Of 311 GBS patients[/U] who, after recovering, received an immunization, [B][U]only one got sick enough to prevent walking.[/U][/B]; [U]ten other patients developed mild symptoms such as abnormal sensations, weakness or fatigue, but they did not require hospital care.[/U] Information about exactly what type of disorder these patients developed was not available.
      [B][U]However, the low risk of substantial problems, in one patient out of 311,[/U][/B] or 0.3%, suggest that most immunizations are safe for most recovered GBS patients.

      The general approach to making a decision about the safety of immunizations is pased on compring the risks of developing an illness and its complications with the risks of developing complictions from the immunization that is used to prevent it. [B][U]By and large, the risks of complications from the flu are substantially greater than the small risk of side effects from the flu shot.[/U][/B] Accordingly, the flu shot appears to be relatively safe for most candidates for it, including most former GBS patients.

      If however, a patient’s GBS followed shortly after receiving an immunization, within two weeks or so, it would likely be unwise to receive that immunization again.

      Finally, it is likely best for a patient with GBS to wait at least a year after its onset to receive an immunization, in order to help assure that the immune system is now stable and in normal working order. [U]Ultimately, the best approach to decision making about various immunizations is to discuss the pros and cons with the family physician who can take the patient’s individual medical history into account to help offer a recommendation.[/U] [B]END[/B]

      [QUOTE]1. Of 311 GBS patients who, after recovering, received and immunization, only 1 got sick enough to prevent walking; 10 other patients developed mild symptoms such as abnormal sensations, weakness or fatigue, but they did not require hospital care.[/QUOTE] So, it appears that 1 person definately had a case of GBS. Now, 10 more with “abnormal sensations (pins and needles), weakness and fatigue” – this sounds familiar, and any knowledgable neurologist would diagnose GBS after they received a flu shot. So, it really looks like there was 1 confirmed case of GBS and 10 relapses back to GBS from the 311 patients.
      [QUOTE]2. According to the CDC statistics (in 2003), only 1 person in 1 million that get a flu shot will get GBS from the flu shot, or approximately 60 per year (out of 60,000,000 that get the flu shot).[/QUOTE] So, 11 out of 311 doesn’t sound very good when compared with the CDC stats. In fact, that’s about 33,000 times the CDC numbers – wow! And the flu shot is still recommended?
      [QUOTE]3. Information about exactly what type of disorder these patients developed was not available.[/QUOTE] It would appear that all it would have taken is a phone call to find out the information. After all, the data was at GBSFI’s sister organization, the Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome Support Group of the United Kingdom. How difficult could that be?
      [QUOTE]4. However, the low risk of substantial problems, in one patient out of 311, or 0.3%, suggest that most immunizations are safe for most recovered GBS patients.[/QUOTE] Surely GBSFI knew the CDC statistics on flu shots…and it’s not 1 (which would be more than 3,200 times the CDC number), it’s 11 patients (over 33,000), check the math, and get the records. It sounds like “the dog ate my homework”…how difficult could it be to get the medical data?
      [QUOTE]5. Ultimately, the best approach to decision making about various immunizations is to discuss the pros and cons with the family physician who can take the patient’s individual medical history into account to help offer a recommendation.[/QUOTE] After the eradication of polio, Guillain-Barre’ syndrome is now the most common cause of acute flaccid paralysis worldwide. One of the main problems is the lack of experience in general doctors, emergency doctors, and some neurologist in recognizing the symptoms of GBS quickly so that treatment can be started. This is because GBS is rare, and asking advice from my family physician about GBS and a flu shot (in my opinion) would be about like asking a pig when Sunday comes. The fact is, doctors are part of the bureaucracy…the money loop that helps protect the need for the useless influenza vaccine.

      As always, these are my opinions.

      This issue is not listed in the FYI at gbs-cidp.org.

      Regards to all.


    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2006 at 8:50 am

      Thanks Jethro. I do understand your thinking, even if I may disagree in my personal situation, and I even agree that the information available to date is somewhat limited, especially due to the rarity of the condition. But, I need to make my own decision that works for me. Thank you so much for all the assistance in providing the information, allowing me to make that decision.

      I am willing to take a 20% or even 50% chance of getting GBS again rather than take an [U]incremental[/U] 0.0001% chance of acquiring the influenza and causing damage to my son or my unborn child. It simply is not something I could live with, if I was the 1/100,000,000 person who acquired flu, passed it onto family, and harmed my own family. I just couldn’t live with that, regardless of how low the odds, or how ineffective the flu shot, or how stupid it may be to get the shot after having GBS.

      I absolutely understand the otherside, and I can even make a great case against my own actions … but I had to do it for my own selfish reasons.

      Thanks again, and happy Thursday (only 30 more days to turkey and mashed potatoes)!!!


    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2006 at 9:55 am

      What a great thread!! So, I have 2 questions. . .

      Swimm ~ your family doesn’t live in a “bubble”, so how would you know that it was you that ‘gave them’ the flu?? Also, the vaccine is supposedly protective for 1 or 2 viruses. What about the many other strains that will appear this winter??

      Statistics can be ‘read’ to support whatever view one wants to embrace. So, as in ‘real life’ there are no guarantees in either direction 😮

    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2006 at 12:32 pm

      [QUOTE=Judi Z]What a great thread!! So, I have 2 questions. . .

      Swimm ~ your family doesn’t live in a “bubble”, so how would you know that it was you that ‘gave them’ the flu?? Also, the vaccine is supposedly protective for 1 or 2 viruses. What about the many other strains that will appear this winter??

      Statistics can be ‘read’ to support whatever view one wants to embrace. So, as in ‘real life’ there are no guarantees in either direction :eek:[/QUOTE]

      Hi Judi … I will attempt to answer the best I can:

      How would I know that is was me? I would not … but if something bad happened and I hadn’t done everything possible to rule out that it was me, I would always wonder, “what if …” I just couldn’t live with that, especially with the knowledge going into this winter season that my baby is just getting over pneumonia that he acquired [U]from me[/U].

      As for the vaccine only being protective for 1 or 2 viruses and potential other strains out there this winter:

      As mentioned before, I understand this. But if I caught the flu and passed it on without getting the shot [I](even if 1 in 100,000,000 — that is only 1 person out of every home in America — and I believe that even the most opposed person to flu vaccine would agree that it just [U]may[/U] prevent 1 case of flu in America per year)[/I], I would never know if, maybe, just maybe, perhaps I could have prevented it by getting the vaccine. It is not the actual vaccine that I personally required … it is the peace of mind that I have done everything I know to protect my baby and pregnant wife. As I mentioned before, I do realize, wholeheartedly, that this may be construed as an [U]extremely[/U] selfish decision, purely for my own personal peace of mind.

      On the other side, if I did get the flu-shot, yet still got the flu (via either ineffective vaccine or different strain … which I agree could possibly be 80% odds or higher … by nature of prevention the pure statistics are relatively difficult, and to me really dont matter) and passed it on, at least in my own mind I would believe that I had done everything I possibly could, personally, to have prevented it (yes, along with handwashing, avoiding crowds, etc.)

      In the end, the statistics really don’t matter to me at all. But, in trying to portray my thinking, here goes the numbers story:

      Lets say my chance of getting the flu without the vaccine is 5 in 1,000,000 or 0.0005% (yes, I am pitting the odds strongly in favor AGAINST the vaccine). And also assume that, by getting the vaccine, my chance of getting the flu is reduced to 4 in 1,000,000 or 0.0004% (again, even the worst believer in vaccine would tell you that the shot [U]may[/U] reduce my chance of flu by more than 0.0001%).

      Heaven forbid, if somehow my son, wife, or bump were harmed from the flu or related virus, and I did not get the vaccine, I would always wonder if I might have fallen into that 0.0001% (or 1 in 1,000,000) that could have prevented the harm.

      To go further, assume the worst case on the GBS side … lets say that getting the flu shot gives me a 20% chance of getting GBS again (even the worst believer of vaccine or GBS would tell you my odds are less than 20%) … and on top of that, feel free to add that if I do get GBS again, assume that I have a 20% chance of long-lasting paralysis plus a 5% chance of never leaving the hospital on my own power. By getting the vaccine, I am placing myself in a 5% chance of very, very poor personal outcome.

      The poor GBS outcome is 50,000x more likely to happen than the poor flu outcome made up above, but it really doesn’t matter.

      I still would get the vaccine. It may be selfish, but I could live with myself in the poor GBS outcome. No matter how small the chance, I could not live with myself in the poor outcome of flu, considering my personal family situation.

      I hope this makes sense. I have tried to portray with numbers my thinking and actions. It does not matter to me that the flu vaccine may not contain the correct strains, or that it is ineffective, or that it may lower my immune system over the long-term, or that it could lead to cancer, or any other argument against it.

      Simply, regardless of research, statistics, whatever, I personally do not have the internal fortitude to take that chance, no matter how small it may be.

      The Spineless One

    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2006 at 1:38 pm

      The GBS/CIDP Foundation International is appalled at the recent posting with negative remarks to Dr. Joel Steinberg. There are several reasons we find these comments unacceptable and harsh. Dr. Steinberg, himself a GBS patient, has for 25 years voluntarily written all of our educational literature, sits on both the Medical Advisory Board and Board of Directors. He is always available, free of charge to address the needs of all GBS patients.

      His dedication is beyond reproach. Our Medical Advisory Board, our “think tank” of neurologists has always respected and supported the work he does for GBS/CIDP patients everywhere.

      GBS/CIDP Foundation International

    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2006 at 5:06 pm

      To GBSFI and all Members:

      The recent post has been edited. Dr. Steinberg’s name has been eliminated from all comments and the language is less harsh.

      However, the statistics remain the same and connot be changed unless GBSFI would like to challenge the theories I used based on “symptoms for GBS” and numbers used by the “CDC on flu shots and GBS”.



      P.S. GBSFI has now posted the Article [url]http://www.gbs-cidp.org/newsletters/2003summer.htm[/url]

    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2006 at 5:21 pm

      What a hot topic!! I love the diversity represented on these forums 🙂 Swimm, thanks for your reply. You have better helped me to understand why I stay away from statistics as much as possible 😮 And once again, this represents why each one of us needs to be informed, as much as possible, to make our own choices as to how to approach the lasting effects of this disease. I would wish for each one of us, peace of mind. Namaste’, Judi

    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2006 at 7:02 pm

      doug. you are far from spineless. you are thoughtful, compassionate and a loving father and husband to do whatever it takes to protect your family. again, i am PROUD of you!!!! and may i add, i still haven’t gotten any ill effects from the flu shot i received a few weeks ago.
      with loving thoughts and prayers,

    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2006 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks, Deb, but to tell the truth, I actually am spineless. Literally (at least partially) and figuratively.

      I shattered two vertebrae in my neck and fractured a third in 2000, and the doctors had to do a couple ____’ectomy procedures over the course of a few surgeries to remove the pieces (i forget the details of the name … sorry … I think laminectomies) … but I ended up with two less vertebra and a ton of metal in my neck, plus a few pieces of bone that an unknown dead guy/gal (thank you, sir/maam, whomever you were) didn’t object to lending on a [I]semi-permanent[/I] basis. Hence, spineless. :p

      Yes, I have been told, I have a truly warped sense of humor. But what the heck, I at least amuse myself. Even better, I am very simple, easily entertained, and thus don’t cause much trouble. :rolleyes:

      Thanks for the support … I’ll let ya know if anything out of the ordinary occurs from the flu shot. From Dr. Steinberg’s article, it looks like a small percentage of people may get what Gene would call a “flare up of residuals.” So far so good. Time to catch an inning or two of baseball before drifting off to sleep. 😀

      Best regards (and let the countdown continue of 30 days until that wonderful holiday called Loads of Mashed Potatoes Day … or something like that),

    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2006 at 11:30 pm

      The best doctors, in my opinion, listen to their patients and are open to differences in opinion.

      To my mind, Jethro’s posts and stats have always reflected careful, accurate research, and his work is highly valued by those of us old timers who quote him extensively. Thank you, Jethro.

      Warm regards,

    • Anonymous
      October 27, 2006 at 9:13 am

      Figuratively Spineless One (or Swimmy as I like to call you),

      I absolutely support your very difficult decision and once again add that I believe that we all have the right to make these decisions based on our own personal knowledge and beliefs. This in fact gives you an incredible “spine.”

      This thread has been controversial and informative. I do not believe that is a bad thing. It gives us all pause to think things through and base an opinion on what we believe and know for ourselves.

      I would pray that the GBSFI would want to keep as much information available to us to make these informed decisions.

      I know I need it.

    • Anonymous
      October 27, 2006 at 9:32 am

      I agree with you completely. If not for all of the information provided by all the users of this forum, I would have been clueless regarding the vaccine.

      So, a huge THANK YOU to all of the knowledgable people who assisted me in making an informed decision.


    • Anonymous
      October 29, 2006 at 9:03 pm

      Dear Doug,

      You have the right to choose what you think is best for you and your family. You choose to get a flu shot, and you have your reasons. There are times that people need to make a choice, or choose what they think is best for them. And that’s fine. However, there are risk.

      When I saw this thread, being a flu shot victim 10 yrs ago, knowing what I know, and got GBS/CIDP and Transverse Myelitis (severe axonal CIDP – get IVIG treatments every 3 wks) from a flu shot, I just wanted to give you all the information I could before you got the influenza vaccination. If you read the GBSFI Article, 11 out of 311 is more than a risk…it’s more like playing Russian roulette with a needle (my opinion). Would you stand with 310 other people that had GBS and hold a hand grenade…knowing that 11 out of the 311 grenades were going to explode? Something to think about.

      Best Regards.


    • Anonymous
      October 30, 2006 at 8:18 am

      Here is a twist on those who should not get flu shots.

      Others however, should not be vaccinated. Anyone with severe allergies to chicken or chicken eggs or who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past as well as people who developed Guillian-Barre’ syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting a vaccine previously should not get the vaccine.
      Nor should children less than 6 months of age or people who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated.

      For the full article use the following url

    • Anonymous
      October 30, 2006 at 11:08 am

      My son is recovering from GBS and we were told from the head Nuerologist both Ped and Adult from Brenners Childrens Hopstial,no more flu shots. There is a strong possibilty of a relaspe from the shot. JB

    • Anonymous
      October 30, 2006 at 1:53 pm

      I have heard the same thing. In fact, just about every person I have talked with has mentioned a contra-indication for the flu vaccine for a person with a history of GBS … at least within the first year of contracting GBS, at a minimum.

      There are probably some specific situations where a GBS person may get the flu vaccine (my own decision was one such), but, if it was my child, I would definitely not have the vaccine administered. Even my own personal decision would likely be ridiculed (and has been) by the vast majority of knowledgeable persons. But, they aren’t in my shoes, so life goes on.

      Wishing you all the best,

    • Anonymous
      October 30, 2006 at 7:50 pm


      When you talk to Ben’s neurologist, ask him if he gets a flu shot, because 70% of all doctors do not…and their children do not get the immunization shots either.


      Jethro is correct when he states that about 70% of Drs do not get the flu shot nor do they vaccinate their children. I also know this to be a fact since I have worked for Drs for about 20 years now.

    • Anonymous
      October 30, 2006 at 9:18 pm

      My doctor at Ohio State told me never to take a flu shot again.
      She is the head of GBS in that hospital.

      Thats was good enough for me !!!!!!:)

      It will get better !

    • Anonymous
      October 31, 2006 at 6:51 pm


      For myself I would not ridicule anyone for getting the flu vaccine.

      I don’t get it myself and would urge others to think carefully but in the end we are different, our reactions are different, are requirements are different.

      Oh, and my GP is the same – no flu vaccine in his home.


    • Anonymous
      October 31, 2006 at 11:47 pm

      A Must read:

      The National Vaccine Information Center releases reports on Influenza Vaccine. [url]http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/061031/dctu060.html?.v=60[/url]

      This will also give everyone a really good idea of how the CDC manipulates numbers…


    • Anonymous
      November 2, 2006 at 8:07 am

      One week post-flu shot and still ticking along.

      Best regards to all,

    • Anonymous
      November 2, 2006 at 8:45 am

      See the following link:


      Information for Health Care Professionals >
      Persons Who Should Not Be Vaccinated with Live, Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)
      Flu Vaccination Recommendations
      Side Effects
      NOTE: The text below is taken directly from Prevention and Control of Influenza: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) (MMWR 2006 Jul 28;55(RR10):1-42).
      The following populations should not be vaccinated with LAIV:
      persons aged <5 years or those aged >50 years;†
      persons with asthma, reactive airways disease, or other chronic disorders of the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems; persons with other underlying medical conditions, including such metabolic diseases as diabetes, renal dysfunction, and hemoglobinopathies; or persons with known or suspected immunodeficiency diseases or who are receiving immunosuppressive therapies;†
      children or adolescents receiving aspirin or other salicylates (because of the association of Reye syndrome with wild-type influenza virus infection);†
      persons with a history of GBS;
      pregnant women;† or
      persons with a history of hypersensitivity, including anaphylaxis, to any of the components of LAIV or to eggs.
      † These persons should receive inactivated influenza vaccine.
      Page last modified September 8, 2006

    • Anonymous
      November 2, 2006 at 3:27 pm


      [B][SIZE=”3″]Don’t Believe Medical Pros on Vaccine Safety[/SIZE][/B]


    • Anonymous
      November 2, 2006 at 3:47 pm

      Yeah, everyone has their thoughts on this matter. Personally I listen to doctors since they are the ones who got me through GBS alive and are the reason I’m getting better.

      The article referenced here is writtin as an opinion by someone not authorized to be making statements like that anymore than you are I are. Some of the facts are taken out of context and of course they have to have certain disclaimers. I think every medication out there lists possible death as a disclaimer when you look at the long for PI. The fact of the matter is the flu shot is a personal decision. If you want to have a medical professionals opinion on this then do so, if you think you know better than them then make the decision on your own. Since the medical professionals are the ones who got me through GBS alive and are aiding with pain managment and getting me walking again, I personally will listen to what they advise. But thats just my 2cents.

    • Anonymous
      November 3, 2006 at 2:32 pm


      I read that article in the Pocono paper, it was a very good article.
      Thanks for posting the link for others to read.

      My Opinions:

      It certainly is a personal choice for everyone to make on whether to take the flu vaccine, but this site is more informative then some doctors when it comes to vaccines. Everyone has a right to post their opinions.

      When someone gets GBS/CIDP from vaccines, you start to search for the info that the Drs should have given you before the vaccines are given. When vaccines kill and mame innocent children, you start to understand how dangerous vaccines really are. Drs are supposed to tell you and have you sign a paper stating that the flu vaccine and any other vaccine can cause GBS and that you are aware of this and then you can sign the paper and take the vaccine knowing fully the severe risks involved.

      Drs gave my husband the vaccine that caused his GBS and Drs saved his life and those same doctors are the ones who said never take a vaccine again, especially the flu vaccine.

      The reason for this forum is for people to give the info and let others make informed decisions regarding their life.

      I for one think all the info here is the best and very informative.

    • Anonymous
      November 3, 2006 at 3:00 pm

      This forum is great, it allows people to get together who have been through or are going through the same types of things. Some things I take whole heartedly from this forum as I sure everyone does. There are things I listen to my doctor on and other things I chose to do more research on. I think the flu shot and all decisions regarding a persons health are just that… personal and should be taken from a multitude of sources. My doctors tell me not to get the flu shot so I do research to see why. I read articles and keep in mind that they cautioned me on it and I make my decision. I think everyone should do the same but not discount any professional advice… consider it and maybe decide to go against it.. but it should still be considered either way.

      What surprises me the most about this though is off all the things related to GBS, the posts on the flu and flu shots seem to be the most heated

    • Anonymous
      November 3, 2006 at 4:00 pm

      The only heat comes from those who developed GBS/CIDP from the flu vaccine or any other vaccine. Had they not been talked into taking the vaccine by the Primary Care Docs, those people would not have developed GBS/CIDP. We answer the the same question every year at this time when someone asks for opinions.

      We always advocate here to learn as much as you can and then make that informed choice with all the knowledge you have gained. No one can make that decision for you, but you need to be your best advocate for your body.

      Knowledge is Power.

    • Anonymous
      November 9, 2006 at 10:45 am

      Just fyi for those that have been asking … two weeks since flu-shot and still going strong (business trip to Las Vegas today through Sunday). Yuck. Dreading the trip (I am not a fan of LV … I would much rather stay home with my wife and play with my toddler … even in leaf-raking season). I am such a boring person.

      Even though I still have tingling in both legs, and one leg still has no ankle or calf strength, I have gotten back to running about 3 miles 5-6 days a week in the early morning. It is ugly to watch (technique wise), but still able to hold an 8 minute per mile or better pace.

      I was discussing with my wife (rehab and sports med physician) last night, how I used to be able to run 10 miles without difficulty, but now 3 miles is a challenge. I feel ok, but 3 mi now equates to 10 mi pre-GBS. Funny how this GBS thing works, especially residuals, in ways that may not even be apparent.

      Best wishes to all.

    • Anonymous
      November 9, 2006 at 11:08 am

      Just fyi … saw this article today and thought I would post it. Again, I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I do adhere to the policy that individuals should be able to understand all sides of an argument before making a decision. It is an [B]individual[B] decision for all. Wishing you all the best, 🙂

      Thursday, November 9, 2006
      Myth: Shot won’t give you flu, expert says



      Q. Who should NOT get a flu shot?
      A. Anyone with a severe allergy to chicken eggs, people who have had a severe reaction to a flu shot in the past and children less than 6 months old.

      Q. How do I know if I need a flu shot?
      A. People at high risk for complications from the flu and should get a flu shot:
      • People 65 years and older.
      • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities.
      • Adults and children 6 months and older with chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma.
      • Adults and children 6 months and older with metabolic disease, like diabetes, kidney disease or a weakened immune system.
      • Women who are pregnant during the flu season.
      • All children 6 months to 23 months of age.
      • People 50 to 64 years of age.
      • People regularly in contact with those who are at high risk, like health-care workers, child-care workers and close family members.

      It is a common refrain this time of year: “I won’t get a flu shot because the last time I got one it gave me the flu.”

      Kris Ehresmann, the head of immunizations for the Minnesota Department of Health, said she has to decide whether to start a biology lesson each time she hears that from flu-shot naysayers.

      “I hear that all the time,” she said.

      So here it is: No, the flu shot will not give you the flu. It will not make you sick.

      “It’s biologically impossible,” Ehresmann said, because the virus in the vaccine is dead. It cannot infect the recipient.

      You might get a sore arm from the shot. And because the vaccine revs up your immune system you might feel ‘punky,'” she said. But give you the flu? Not possible.

      The nasal-spray vaccine contains a weakened virus, and because it is sprayed into the nose, it might give some people a stuffed-up nose, sore throat or a headache. But it will not give you the flu either, she said.

      The other refrain that Ehresmann hears around flu season is this: “I got a flu shot, and I got the flu anyway.” That could be true in some years, she said, but you were probably a lot less sick than you would have been without the shot.

      That is because the vaccine is the product of highly educated guesswork. Early each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention try to predict which strain of flu virus will strike the next winter. The prediction is based on the previous year’s flu and what is happening in other countries that typically experience flu outbreaks before they occur here.

      Sometimes the CDC’s prediction has been wrong. But even then, the vaccine partly protected against other types of virus, Ehresmann said.

      “It’s like getting hit with a Volkswagen instead of a Mack truck,” she said.

      Most of the time, the flu shot will prevent the flu.

      So why do people think the vaccine makes them sick? Most likely, she said, because the word “flu” has come to mean just about any illness – from fevers to head colds to intestinal upsets.

    • Anonymous
      November 9, 2006 at 6:24 pm

      On the form for the flu shot that you have to read, it says if you’ve ever had GBS to not take the flu shot. I advise you to not take it. All of my doctors told me to stay as far away from it as I could. I haven’t had the shot and I’m 2 years post GBS and I haven’t had the flu yet. Just take vitamin C!!!

    • Anonymous
      November 14, 2006 at 2:35 pm

      Flu Shot Ups Relative Risk of Guillain-Barré


      By Michael Smith, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
      November 13, 2006

      TORONTO, Nov. 13 — A flu shot appears to increase the relative risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome by 45%, according to researchers here.

      But because the occurrence of the syndrome is so rare, the increased relative risk does not appear to translate into increased hospital admissions, said David Juurlink, M.D., Ph.D., of Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Center.

      While people getting a flu shot should be told of the increased risk, “the decision to recommend vaccination against influenza should primarily be guided by evidence of its benefit,” Dr. Juurlink and colleagues concluded in the Nov. 13 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

      The link between flu vaccination and Guillain-Barré has been a subject of controversy since 1976, when the U.S. National Influenza Immunization Program against so-called Swine Flu was halted early, partly because of reports of Guillain-Barré among recipients of the vaccine.

      Since then, some studies have suggested an adjusted relative risk increase of about 70%, while other studies have seen no association, the researchers noted.

      Dr. Juurlink and colleagues took advantage of individual-level data in the province of Ontario to conduct two related studies — a self-matched case series analysis of the temporal link between vaccination and Guillain-Barré, and a time-series look at Guillain-Barré hospital admissions before and after the start of a universal flu vaccination program.

      The advantage of the self-matched case series approach, Dr. Juurlink and colleagues said, is that it allows patients to serve as their own controls, avoiding many confounding factors. In this study, the researcher identified 269 patients from April 1, 1993, through March 31, 2004 who were diagnosed with Guillain-Barré within 43 weeks of a vaccination in October or November.

      The researchers assumed that a Guillain-Barré hospital admission within seven days of the vaccination was not linked to the shot, that admission during the next six weeks (dubbed the “risk interval”) might be linked, and that admission after the risk interval (the “control
      interval”) was not associated.

      Compared with the control interval, the relative incidence of hospitalization because of Guillain-Barré during the risk interval was
      1.45 (with a 95% confidence interval from 1.05 to 1.99), which was statistically significant at P=0.02, Dr. Juurlink and colleagues found.

      In 2000, the province of Ontario began a program of providing free flu vaccination to all residents older than six months, a program that produced a marked increase in the proportion of residents who were vaccinated.

      From June 1, 1991, through March 31, 2004, the researchers identified
      2,173 incident hospital admissions because of Guillain-Barré — about 170 new cases a year and approximately 14 cases per million person-years in the province.

      The rate of admissions did not change after the introduction of the universal flu shot program, Dr. Juurlink and colleagues found.

      “Our results must be interpreted carefully,” the researchers cautioned, because the increased relative risk corresponds to a very low absolute risk of Guillain-Barré.

      “Furthermore, the lack of association on a population health level is consistent with the prevalent impression that influenza vaccine is only one of many potential causes” of the syndrome, they said.

      = — = — = —
      Action Points

      * Explain to patients who ask that that the absolute risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome remains very low, and the benefit of the flu shot — in terms of preventing illness and lost work time — is high.

      = — = — = — = — = — = —

      Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:2217-2221.
      Vol. 166 No. 20, November 13, 2006

      Original Investigation
      Guillain-Barré Syndrome After Influenza Vaccination in Adults

      A Population-Based Study

      David N. Juurlink, MD, PhD; Therese A. Stukel, PhD; Jeffrey Kwong, MD, MSc; Alexander Kopp, BA; Allison McGeer, MD, MSc; Ross E. Upshur, MD, MSc; Douglas G. Manuel, MD, MSc; Rahim Moineddin, PhD; Kumanan Wilson, MD, MSc

      Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:2217-2221.

      Background Whether influenza vaccination is associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) remains uncertain.

      Methods We conducted 2 studies using population-based health care data from the province of Ontario, Canada. In the first study, we used the self-matched case-series method to explore the temporal association between probable influenza vaccination (adults vaccinated during October and November) and subsequent hospitalization because of GBS. In the second study, we used time-series analysis to determine whether the institution of a universal influenza immunization program in October 2000 was associated with a subsequent increase in hospital admissions because of GBS at the population level.

      Results From April 1, 1992, to March 31, 2004, we identified 1601 incident hospital admissions because of GBS in Ontario. In 269 patients, GBS was diagnosed within 43 weeks of vaccination against influenza. The estimated relative incidence of GBS during the primary risk interval (weeks 2 through 7) compared with the control interval (weeks 20 through 43) was 1.45 (95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.99; P = .02). This association persisted in several sensitivity analyses using risk and control intervals of different durations. However, a separate time-series analysis demonstrated no evidence of seasonality and revealed no statistically significant increase in hospital admissions because of GBS after the introduction of the universal influenza immunization program.

      Conclusion Influenza vaccination is associated with a small but significantly increased risk for hospitalization because of GBS.

      Gary N. Greenberg, MD MPH

    • Anonymous
      November 15, 2006 at 3:16 pm

      Holy smokes! That is soo weird, I went to high school with the writer of that Pocono Record article. In fact I live on the outskirts of the poconos. It was just weird to see that on here on the boards, Dr. Kelcinski writes many editorial articles in the local paper.

    • Anonymous
      November 16, 2006 at 8:06 pm


      Thank you. I have recently had a heated discussion about this topic with my boss. Your article says everything, and more, that I was trying to say – and it says it so much better!

      My boss’s argument is a good one. Flawed, but good. The basis of it was that everyone is responsible for making their own, informed, decision. I cnssdier that a cop-out. My counter argument was how can you make an informed decision if you don’t have the information and also, because the general public are not doctors.

      All I argued was that, regarding the flu vaccine, contra-indications could at the very least be put up on the wall of a clinic. So, if you had had GBS, there might be a chance of you thinking twice if you saw it mentioned. My boss’s argument is that, if you had had GBS, you would check it out yourself. But that says – everyone is responsible for themselves (and yes, in the end they are) but I argue that ultimately that would make everyone a doctor.

      If this doesn’t make sense, I apologise. My excuse? I am so pleased to read this thread and it is 1 am!

      God bless

    • Anonymous
      November 17, 2006 at 10:09 am


      Thanks for posting this article, very interesting statistics and good information.

      As a practical matter, I wonder if anyone who has not had GBS or known someone who has, would refuse the shot when reading a handout from the doctor saying there is a risk of getting GBS? All medications and vacinations carrry a risk factor, and yet, we usually choose to take them anyway.

      I’m being Devil’s advocate here, of course, but I recall seeing the information on the handout from doctor prior to my last flu shot and it barely gave me pause. I got the shot anyway. This may have been the cause of my GBS, since I got the flu shot Nov. 15 and GBS Dec. 31.

      This said, I do believe that whoever is administering the shots shots should make the information available before giving the shot.

      Personally, I’ll never take one again, but that’s because I’ve had GBS.


    • Anonymous
      November 17, 2006 at 7:44 pm

      I just left the hospital two days ago…. Right before I left they asked me if I wanted a flu shot. I said no because of everything they had told me about the onset could be from a vacine (even though I didn’t have one!) and that kinda freaked me out. They seemed pretty knowledgable about GBS but yet asked me if I wanted a flu shot? Is that nuts or just me?

    • Anonymous
      November 17, 2006 at 11:46 pm

      hi jenni & welcome,

      refusing the flu shot was a smart move. you are your best advocate, not the medical community. like any other profession it takes all kinds doing all things. take care. be well.

      gene gbs 8-99
      in numbers there is strength

    • Anonymous
      November 20, 2006 at 7:50 pm

      Hi Jenni

      Yep, it is nuts, and it is not just you.

      I agree with Gene, absolutely.

      They may have seemed knowledgeable, but doesn’t it give you pause for thought?

    • Anonymous
      November 21, 2006 at 12:10 pm


      An article on Sympatico MSN, 14/11/06 shows a study that tracked adults who took the Vaccine in October and November between April 1992 and March 04 a total of 1601 patiants admitted to Ontario hospitals were diagnosed with GBS, 269 were atributed to the flu shot.

      The entire article can be found at web site, Archives of Intrnal Medicine,
      Volume 166 # 20, November 13, 2006.

      Hope this will help with your concern.


      Oakville on, Canada

    • Anonymous
      November 21, 2006 at 1:21 pm

      The part of this article I really disagree with – anyone that got GBS within 1 week after the flu shot were not included in the study. Sorta like saying anyone stopped for DWI will not be charged for the first 6 beers.