Vaccine at Onset?
December 12, 2017 at 11:55 am
My daughter’s CIDP was caused by the HPV vaccine. I was shocked when a doctor we know personally said to me, “Well, yeah, all vaccines have the possibility of causing Guillain-Barré Syndrome.” She said in such a matter of fact way you could have pushed me over with a feather.
I’ve since learned of many other cases caused by flu shot, but wondering how many people on this forum were diagnosed as a result of any vaccine, and which?
December 12, 2017 at 9:10 pm
I had both flu and pneumonia shots in the weeks before my sudden onset CIDP. No one will say either was the cause, just a possibility as I had also had a prolonged respiratory issue for the months before.
December 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm
There is no evidence that any vaccine causes GBS, certainly not in the way we normally use the term “cause.” The matter has been studied extensively and continues to be studied and monitored by the Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A report on a comprehensive study by Kaiser Permanente is available in these forums, along with reports of other studies. These studies show that the incidence of GBS is the same for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not been vaccinated.
That the incidence is the same does not mean, however, that a vaccination cannot be a factor. It is possible that a vaccine can be a trigger (not a “cause”) in a few cases, but the number of such cases must be exceedingly small or studies would be able to show the connection.
There is one known trigger of GBS: Campylobacter jejuni, a pathogen found in poultry and in the environment. There may be many different infections which can trigger GBS, and a person may be susceptible to only one. Most people, of course, are not susceptible at all. The “cause” of GBS is in your own makeup.
As for the flu vaccine, I had a very serious case of CIDP never having had a flu vacine and having had no vaccines at all for several years before getting the disease. Since recovering, I now get vaccinated for influenza every year, because I know that is better protection for my health than avoiding vaccines.
January 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm
I got GBS after suffering from chikenpox and was taking chroromycin syrup at the age of 9
January 24, 2018 at 12:09 pm
My mom got GBS two weeks after getting the last of 3 vaccinations needed for an operation (she did not get in the end). ER doctors said they suspect them to have been the trigger. Still, mom had a very persistent cold as well.
In any case, I’ve read that such a trigger may trigger GBS in combination with a genetic predisposition. Mom has also suffered from Hemolytic Anemia for the past 18 years or so. I am sure sometime in the future they’ll discover this is all related somehow.
March 10, 2020 at 3:48 pm
My CIDP was definitely triggered by the H1N1 Flu vaccine I received in 2010. I was perfectly healthy, young, no other infections or on any medications. I got the vaccine and my symptoms started within days of the vaccine. I had a very classic case of CIDP and was able to pretty much conclude the vaccine was my culprit. No other explanation. My first neurologist was the one who suggested that is what triggered my CIDP. I was also able to get compensated from the vaccine fund (not much but something to help off-set my monthly medical bills). So, I do believe that vaccines can trigger your immune system to go rogue and start to see your nerve coating as a foreign invader and attack. Sadly, I won’t ever let myself have another vaccine for fear it will make me worse. That is just my personal choice.
March 10, 2020 at 8:16 pm
GBS|CIDP Foundation International Position on Flu Shots and Vaccinations
**This information is intended for general educational purposes only. Any decisions regarding vaccinations should be made in consultation with your primary doctor.**
You can find more information on the flu shot and GBS here
Learn about The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Vaccines and Guillain-Barré Syndrome
Summary: Vaccines are usually safe for most people; their potential benefits usually outweigh their small risks. However there is a lack of data to guide the use of immunizations in former GBS patients. For the rare person who developed GBS within four to six weeks of receiving an immunization, the Foundation advises to avoid the same immunization in the future. The decision to receive a vaccination is likely best made by conferring with the patient’s primary physician and following guidelines in the product literature.
History of Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Vaccines
GBS is a rare disorder caused by damage of the peripheral nerves. Major features are weakness, paralysis, and sometimes even breathing issues. Most patients recover but some are left with long term weakness. Infections commonly precede GBS and are thought to “trigger” GBS through a process called “molecular mimicry.” In this process, the body’s immune defense system attacks an infecting microbe and then inadvertently attacks peripheral nerves that “look” similar to that microbe.
The start of an American vaccination program against swine flu in the fall of 1976 was followed by more cases of GBS in vaccine recipients than would have been expected by chance. This experience raised concerns that future flu or other vaccines might also increase the risk of developing GBS.
However, a study of adverse events of flu shots given during the two flu seasons after 1976 showed no increased risk to developing GBS[i]. A recently published study looked carefully at vaccine recipients over the course of 11 years, 1995-2006, and found no increased risk of developing GBS from influenza or other vaccinations[ii]. Other studies suggest only a rare association with influenza vaccine citing an incidence of 1 or 2 excess cases of GBS over expected per million vaccinations[iii].
The risk of a former GBS patient developing GBS again from a vaccination is not known as the complication rate from vaccinations in recovered GBS patients has not been properly studied. Members of the GBS|CIDP Foundation Global Medical Advisory Board have deliberated on the safety of immunizations for former GBS patients and offer the following guidelines: For the rare person who developed GBS within four to six weeks of receiving an immunization, it seems prudent to avoid that vaccination in the future. For those whose GBS did not follow soon after a vaccination, there is no reliable data to indicate the risk of developing GBS after a vaccination.
Ultimately, former GBS patients should discuss the pros and cons of receiving a vaccination with their primary physician to evaluate its benefits and risks. Influenza is dangerous, accounting for 40,000 or so deaths each year in the US from complications, especially in the elderly and those with chronic illnesses (chronic lung disease, diabetes, etc.). The decision about a former GBS patient receiving or declining a flu shot or other immunization should be well thought out. Discussing this matter with the primary physician is likely the best means to assess a vaccine’s value.
Vaccines and Guillain Barre Syndrome 2018
[i] Schonberger IB et al. Guillain-Barre Syndrome: Its Epidemiology and Association with Influenza Vaccination. Ann Neurol 1981;9 (Suppl 1); 31-38
[ii] Baxter R et al. Lack of Association of Guillain-Barre Syndrome with Vaccinations. CID 2013; 57: 197-204
[iii] Lasky T et al. The Guillain-Barre syndrome and the 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 Influenza Vaccines. N Engl J Med 1998; 339: 1797-1802
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