Fast Five Quiz: Guillain-Barré Syndrome Practice Essentials

Helmi L. Lutsep, MD


December 06, 2022

In most cases, however, no definite causal relation has been established between vaccines and GBS, with the exception of rabies vaccine prepared from infected brain tissue and the 1976 swine flu vaccine. Some surveillance data showed a small but statistically significant increased risk for GBS in the 3 weeks after the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson viral vector COVID-19 vaccine. However, subsequent research determined that the reporting rate was within the incidence range of GBS in the general population. Further, studies have also shown that GBS is a risk for COVID-19.

A large recent study found that influenza vaccination does not increase risk for GBS. In addition, some studies have called the GBS-vaccine link into question, finding no evidence of an increased risk for GBS after seasonal influenza vaccine or after the 2009 H1N1 mass vaccination program. A study by Dieleman and colleagues researched the association between the H1N1 2009 vaccine and GBS in 104 patients in five European countries. Adjusting for the effects of influenza-like illness/upper respiratory tract infection, seasonal influenza vaccination, and calendar time, the authors concluded that no increased risk for GBS occurred after receiving the H1N1 vaccine. A systematic literature review and meta-analysis also recently found that the absolute and relative risk for GBS after human papilloma virus vaccination is statistically insignificant.

Learn more about the viral vector COVID-19 vaccine.


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